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Wax Moths?


I found some larvae outside my hive this morning and are pretty sure they’re wax moths. :evil:

I inspected my hive about 3 weeks ago and things looked great. Strong hive, queen visible, lots of new comb being built. Tons of pollen coming in. I feel like I should open the hive & take a look, but it’s a bit chilly today…

As I am just approaching the end of my first year as a beekeeper, I’m at a loss as to what to do, particularly if I want to keep my TBH treatment free. Suggestions, please!

–Amanda in Tigard


Update: It did get warm enough today for me to venture an inspection. I saw about 5 cells that looked to have white cappings. I scraped them away and did find two wax moth larvae. I’m sure there are more, but not a lot. I’m pretty sure the girls can handle them so far.

A new worry sprung up, though–I saw a LOT of drones on the ground today. Could they be out for orientation flights? Hmmm… Opened the hive & saw drones everywhere! Found at 4-5 frames of drone-only brood. The rest of the brood frames were spotty & sparse. A sign my queen might be drying up?

What else to worry about now that we’ve made it through the winter? About 5 cross-combed bars! I had to pull them as sets of 2 & 3 to get them out and one dropped its comb (do I remove it?). Ugh.

Off to research. And have a drink.



I wouldn’t worry too much about the moths. You’ll find wax moths in every hive, waiting for their chance to take over and eat through the combs. As long as the hive is alive and healthy, they will keep the moths at bay.

If you’re seeing that much drone brood, laid consistently, that’s likely a sign of a healthy colony. If you see spotty drone brood, here and there throughout the combs, with many empty cells in between, this would be a sign of queenlessness and laying workers.

In the spotty combs, if you hold them up and look through them do you see eggs in the uncapped cells?

The cross-combed bars I assume were at the end (the newest combs). This is likely due to honey combs being fatter than brood combs. These need to be monitored more closely in the future and spaced with gaps or spacers in between them to avoid further cross-comb.




Thanks for the quick response, Matt.

I’ve calmed down about the wax moths–even though they gross me out.

The drone brood I’ve seen is on about 4 bars, front & back–no worker brood on them at all. There are about the same number of bars with the same amount of worker brood (though the pattern is spotty) at the other end of the hive. It seemed like a large percentage of drones to me.

I did see the queen, but I didn’t see any eggs/larvae in uncapped cells… How long should I wait before I check on her again?

Yes, the crosscomb was the newest. I have a plan for spacers.