How to Kill Wax Moths in Bee Hives

Written by brendan pelsue
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How to Kill Wax Moths in Bee Hives
Wax moths rarely infest healthy beehives, but they can cause damage to untended combs. (bee bees apises beehive hive insect nature image by Pali A from Fotolia.com)

Portable beehive

Freezer

Sharp knife

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • According to the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, "wax moths are major pests of stored or unattended combs," and may cause damage to beekeeping materials by eating wax in abandoned or underpopulated hives. The simplest way to remove wax moths from a hive is to freeze them----all forms of wax moth life will cease after approximately 4.5 hours of exposure to temperatures under -6.67 degrees C.

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove hive frames from the hive. In infested hives, wax moth damage will likely be visible on combs.

    How to Kill Wax Moths in Bee Hives
    Wax moths feed on honey comb cells. (honeycomb image by Andrzej Solnica from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Place combs in freezer at a temperature below -6.67C or -7C. Keep combs in freezer for at least five hours.

    How to Kill Wax Moths in Bee Hives
    Unlike bees, wax moths are unable to survive freezing temperatures----which makes them a less significant pest in cold weather climates. (Beautiful Winter image by Stana from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Remove frames from freezer. Using a knife, cut away damaged comb from healthy comb. Using a knife and your fingers, remove remaining wax moth bodies from hive and frames.

  4. 4

    Reassemble the beehive.

Tips and warnings

  • Beekeeping experts agree that it is easier to prevent wax moth infestation than to kill wax moths once they have take over a hive. Wax moths rarely gain footing in hives with full adult bee populations. To prevent infestation, it may therefore be advisable to remove frames from underpopulated sections of a hive.
  • According to The Bee Works, beekeepers looking to exterminate wax moths without upsetting an existing bee population may set up a narrow-mouthed container filled with a mixture of water, sugar, vinegar, and ripe fruit near the hive. The smell of the rotting fruit will attract the moths, who will then become trapped in the container and drown in the sugar liquid.

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