Wax Moths – GROSS!

 

This appears to be the year to learn tough lessons. In my previous post I talked about what happens when a hive goes without a queen for way too long. Well I thought all was well but on giving the hives one more inspection I was greeted with a most disgusting sight. When I opened the hive there was what looked like Godzilla sized maggots crawling everywhere. There was also silk webbing all over the place. I had been invaded by wax moths. How could this happen? The hive that had the replacement queen was obviously very small and weak. The bees did not have enough numbers to properly patrol the inside of their hive. A wax moth can get in and lay eggs, or lay eggs under the hive and the larvae can crawl in and take up residence. Normally the bees escort these interlopers out of the hive but not if they are understaffed. This was exacerbated by my leaving too many supers on giving them even more room. The larvae eat into the wax where the bees can’t get to them and start eating right through all the baby bees growing inside. Absolutely disgusting! After talking with my friends at Sacramento Beekeeping I got creative. I put a fresh brood chamber with drawn comb on the stand with an inner cover on top. I then stacked all 4 boxes (supers and brood chambers) on top and put a fume pad on the very top. The fume pad is a board with felt on one side and is sprayed with a solution that smells bad to bees.  They move away from it.  The idea was to drive all the bees down into the new accommodations. Guess what? It worked . . . well kind of.  The bees all went down . . . and out. They went back but not before the queen flew away. She came back and I found her on the entrance of the hive . . . next door. The other hive was not very hospitable and they killed her. So I was off to buy queen #3 for this year. Since the hive was so depleted I took three frames of capped brood and their nurse bees and put them in the hive with the new queen. The next time I check the front of the hive I noticed Yellow Jackets flying in and out of the hive like they owned the place. Apparently there were not bees old enough to be guards so I closed off the entrance. Two weeks later all is well.  The queen, wearing her royal red dot is alive and surrounded by admirers.  We have eggs and baby bees (larvae). Some of the brood has hatched and the nurse bees took to the air when I opened the hive so I guess they aren’t nurse bees anymore! I opened the entranced and we will see how it goes over winter.

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