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Insect Pests

Wax Moth (Greater and Lesser)

The wax moth lays its eggs inside the hive comb, where the larvae feed on the comb causing significant damage to the comb.

In healthy hives, wax moth is not a problem with worker bees removing any intruders effectively. However in hives that are weakened they can establish themselves with devastating effect.

Dealing with wax moths can be very easy with prevention being the best option. The moths usually climb into the hive during darkness via gaps in the top of the hive. Making sure that these gaps are too small for the moths to pass through is the best method of dealing with the moth.

If you already have an minor infestation then you can, remove the larvae (freezing is the best method for killing), pull out any webs and destroy any affected combs. For major infestations destruction and burning affected areas is the only solution. There are some chemical products on the market that deal with wax moth these include ParadiChlorBenzene and Certan.

Small Hive Beetle (not present in the uk!)

The Small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Murray) (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) is native to South Africa but is not regarded as a serious pest there. However, in the United States, it has become a significant pest where it causes serious damage to beehives. The beetle has now also been confirmed in hives in two areas of Australia – New South Wales and Queensland.

Larvae of the small hive beetle can cause total destruction to colonies within a season. They tunnel through combs, eating honey and pollen and killing bee brood. Heavy infestations cause bees to abscond; some beekeepers have reported the rapid collapse of even strong colonies.The larvae defecate in honey promoting fermentation, which has to be destroyed. Beetles have been recorded to fly up to 7 km.