What are wax moths and what kind of damage do they make in a beehive?

Bee Health November 10, 2009|Print
There are two species of wax moth that cause damage to honey bee colonies by consuming beeswax as their larvae develop and in the process of making a pupal cocoon they score the wooden frames that hold the wax combs, weakening the wood. Damage becomes obvious as they produce large quantities of gray-white webbing and dark fecal material as they feed. The larger of the two species (3/4 inch long gray-brown adult), the greater wax moth, Gallaria melonella causes more damage and has a wider distribution while the lesser wax moth, Achroia grisella is more limited to warmer southern states. Wax moths are not a cause of colony death, they come in later after some other factor/malady has reduced the population of honey bees. Strong colonies of honey bees with large worker population can reduce numbers of wax moth to a level where they cause little damage. - John Skinner, University of Tennessee