Lesser Waxmoth Achroia grisella (near right)... Is by far the most
common type and by sheer weight of numbers it probably causes the most
Greater Waxmoth Galleria mellonella (left)... Is less common, but
individuals are capable of doing many times as much damage as the
lesser type. It's larvae are so voracious and numerous that they can
wreak massive damage in a short time. The lasting damage to hive
woodwork is also much more severe than for the lesser species.
The debris has an unpleasant smell, cleaning up the damage
takes valuable time and the wax itself is lost as a product.
As far as the bees are concerned, in the natural situation
they are a method by which old comb, which may carry disease, is
destroyed thus recovering space in the nest for new comb after the
abandonment of the original old ones.
Beekeepers often consider the wax moth as a nuisance,
particularly in stored comb. Young larvae tunneling just underneath
the cappings can cause leakage and weeping of honey. But in general
wax moths are only a big problem in weak colonies, or those that are
The links above left will give you a good idea of how to
deal with them, but do not expect to be able to eliminate them entirely,
however by observing hygiene and being vigilant you will reduce the
damage that they cause to an acceptable level. Those beekeepers that
claim they will kill colonies are probably trying to cover up their
own miss-management. Strong, well managed colonies will themselves do
most of the work required to limit the pest.
Originated... 24 January 2002, Written... 09-11 June 2002