Something you don’t want to see in one of your hives! Small moths of Galleria spp., commonly known as Wax Moths can eat away the honey comb and leave behind damaging webbing, frass, and plain old ick! Preventative measures include proper storage of unoccupied hive hardware and frames, especially frames with pulled comb and even more so when there is leftover honey or pollen in that comb. I am posting this so other beekeepers can use this as a tool to ID the problem if it happens in a hive.
My problem here is USER ERROR! Plain, outright neglect! I stored a hive inside the house and used it as a place to set my coffee this winter. The bees from this hive had died and I didn’t want to put the hardware in our barn (because of the rats). Our deep freezer was broken so I couldn’t put the frames in there either. Storing it inside the house obviously wasn’t a good idea. But I LOVED the smell of the comb and it made the dark island winter much more bearable because of the honey-aromatherapy.
So this spring when I noticed the first little moth flying around in the house…and then a few more…and a few more…and the other day, there were probably thirty of them just hanging out on the bathroom wall, I knew I had a problem. My handy cat (and feline companion, Millhouse) helped with the inside pest control problem.
He’s been happy to swipe and stomp the pesky moth adults flying around.
I took the hive hardware outside yesterday. This morning it all went into our newly-repaired, freon-filled deep freeze. (Thanks Lorin Geiser of Geiser Appliance Repair). This will kill all the moth larvae, pupae, and eggs.
My take away advice here….If you have to store hive hardware and frames without bees inside, you need to read the paper I wrote about Wax Moths. It’s attached below the photos at the bottom of this blog! Don’t use your hive as a coffee-table either…not unless you use a new hive body that doesn’t have a gourmet buffet of honey comb inside for Galleria spp. Wax Moths.
I’ve also attached a neat chart I found online illustrating the wax moth in the hive just below the photos here and my wax moth paper. Both are great resources for new-bees to beekeeping!