Wax Moths!

Not only did my bees fare poorly over the winter but so did my extra freezer.  My kegerator, which I keep for homebrewed beer and mead, died over the winter taking the freezer I use to temporarily freeze frames I need to store to kill pests over the winter with it.  Keeping bees in the city and living in an apartment has its disadvantages, largely from lack of space.  With this freezer gone it meant I had to take some risks.  I had hoped this year's weather would be half as good as 2012, and the bees would respond in kind.  This has not been the case so far, unfortunately.  The weather has been wet, I have been short on time, and it seems I am cursed in that whenever I have free time to visit the bees it is raining, delaying the visit by another weekend. This has not been good, as the bees have had less management from me than I would like and they have not been expanding very well due to the weather. 

I mentioned the freezer above because one of the pests I was risking by not freezing the frames, wax moths.  The moths will lay their eggs in the wax which later hatch and eat the built out wax.  In nature this serves to clean out recycle old dead hives, as a strong hive of bees will usually keep the moths in check.  My hives have not been strong, and I am starting to see some of damage as a result.  The west Philly backyard hive had damage in several frames when I inspected today and I feat it will only grow worse.  I am not sure what more I can do at this point, as I still have no where to freeze frames and this, and the other, hives are growing only slowly.  All I can do is clean out the cocoons, pluck the larva I see, and hope the bees start to expand faster than they have been.  The only good news about this is that wax worms are very fatty and essentially candy for reptiles.  The geckos will enjoy their treat.

A drawn out frame damaged by wax moths

One of the frames damaged by the wax moth larva.

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