Monday, September 9, 2013
Oh Dear! Another Pest!
That would be Wax Moth from Achroia gisella better known as lesser wax moth which hatch from Waxworms, the caterpillar larvae of wax moths. They live as parasites in beehives, eating pollen and shed skins of bees and chew through beeswax. If allowed to get out of hand they will destroy brood comb in no short order. Unfortunately for us we have been outwitted by the pest and had to destroy an entire box of brood comb and then some.
And it was all my fault!
I know about Wax Moth and I know how to prevent it. I got lazy and violated a simple rule and didn't store a box of brood comb properly. I know perfectly well brood comb must be stored in air tight containers. Period end of story. Simple no brainer. I also have more large air tight containers than anyone you know! When this happened those containers were sitting right next to the box of brood comb, empty! Watching Tashi Losar stalking a moth for over 30 minutes the other night should have been a red flag rather than a source of amusement for me.
Damn it anyway! Lesson learned. Why do we have to learn lessons about things we already know for pete sake? It was beautiful dark comb, an entire box, ready to be made into candle wax. I am only glad it was Paula and I who discovered the mess and not someone else who might have been completely freaked out!
Paula and I spent the morning extracting honey. No extracting party this year, just the two of us. We used electric de-capping knife to un-cap about 9 super frames and a scraping tool to open up some patchy areas on about 9 brood frames. We had a fair amount of un-capped honey and couldn't avoid mixing the two. The good news is that we did get 5 gallons. The bad news is that it is very high moisture honey, 19-20 on the refractometer which means it could ferment quickly!
There is still a great deal of work to be done, mostly physical in nature. Removing all but two brood boxes from the hives in the yard, cleaning all the equipment and getting a game plan in place for next year. All of that is hard to face after Wax Moth, minimal honey and bees that just don't seem well. We managed to collect one large tub of wax for candles despite the loss from Wax Moth and we will get more when we pull the rest of the equipment from the bee yard.