Bummer! My inspection today found wax moths.

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by bamabww, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I noticed last week I had one hive that was not as active as it had been. Pushed for time I put off opening it up until today and found wax moths have destroyed the hive completely. Looking at my journal, I pulled a super of honey off this hive in early August. The moths must have been present then but I failed to see any sign of them or any problems.

    I'm going back now to take some pictures and I'll need your help on what to do next after you see the pictures. My 86 year old mentor said to set everything on fire right where it sits. I'm going for a second and third opinion. Hopefully it won't require that drastic an action but if it does to safeguard my other six hives I'll do it.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Your mentor is off in left field. Only AFB gives reason to burn.

    If there are many wax larva still present, open all the hive to bright sun for a day or two. Then clean up all the wood, frames included, and put away for future needs.
     

  3. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    One of the first things I noticed when I took the top cover off was no bees. Only a few hundred left out of the entire hive. Some photos of the damage:
     

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  4. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    This hive was from a swarm I caught a year ago. I gave them a frame of eggs / brood of all ages and a frame of honey / pollen. I put them in a deep with all new foundation. They filled it out and up enough to survive the past year's mild winter and i added another deep in late March after our Maples started blooming. According to my journal I added a honey super with drawn comb the middle of May and they filled it up and I pulled it early August. I think I may have pushed them a little too much and that explains why the frames are not completely drawn out. Do you think that's probably the reason?
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would say the main reason was harvesting without knowing what you were leaving in the way of stores. You probably took all their food when the flow was slow.

    The wax moth problem isn't that bad. Let them have full direct sun for a day or two to kill the larva. Then pull most of the webs out and treat with BT. The comb is still good to add a swarm to next spring.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Like Iddee said. I would just use a capping scratcher and lift off all the comb with webbing on it.Then expose to sun. If it's real bad, just scrape off the comb and reuse it (lets see you try that Jack!) :lol:
     
  7. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Iddee, he called me back and said he was wrong. He said no need to burn if it's wax moth. He advised setting the hive body, frames inside, on top of a fire ant mound. He said the ants would clean up the larvae and would not damage the comb. I have plenty of fire ant mounds. Is he getting closer back to home base with that suggestion?

    I have already done as you recommended and they are sitting uncovered in full sun. I cleaned off the bottom board into a wheel barrow, threw some dry grass on top of them and set it on fire. Just for revenge if nothing else.
     
  8. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I know the feeling when you open up a hive and see wax moths. I can relate. I hope you get things cleaned up and back in service. I have read about the fire ant hills before. It doesn't cost anything to try it, and it might just work. So far, I've had success with BT.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Fire ants, freezer, or sun. Any of them will kill them. They also make good fish bait.
     
  10. Walt B

    Walt B Active Member

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    I have used BT successfully. I really, REALLY hate fire ants.

    Walt
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    chickens also adore wax moth larva and you get more eggs. Sorry for your loss though, it is an awful thing to find the bees gone and only the pests there. I have dunked frames in water, netted the larva with a fishnet and fed them to my hens.
     
  12. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    You're not kidding. Man what a terrible feeling I had and still have because of this.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you have other hives? I had only one, it was my first, and oh my gosh what a fail.
     
  14. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Yes, I have 6 left. 3 what I consider strong hives and 3 very small hives who are struggling. I'm feeding these 3 and watching until the end of the month. I may combine them into one if dramatic improvement is not seen. All 3 are storing pollen and raising brood but I doubt they'll provide enough stores to survive the winter as individuals. Our golden rod is just blooming so I'm hoping.....
     
  15. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I went through my other 3 hives that I consider the weakest this afternoon and did not find any sign of wax moths and only 1 shb. All three had brood of all stages and a varying amounts of stores. I have 4 medium supers ready to harvest but I plan on saving three of them and if I don't combine the hives will furnish each hive a 9 frame medium super of honey to winter on. That may still not be enough depending on the weather but it's a start. I may have to further combine the three into 1 or at the least 2.
     
  16. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Thanks for this analysis of what I did wrong. Looking back at my notes and remembering what I did, you are exactly right. I appreciate your advice very much. I have learned a valuable lesson.
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    One point to remember for all beeks, the harvest of honey should be the EXCESS stores of the hive. It should be measured by determining what the bees have and what they will need, and only remove what is above and beyond that.