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Beekeepers detecting wax moth infestations

Beekeepers have been detecting the beginning stages of wax moth infestations within “dead out” equipment throughout Manitoba. With the high winter losses and reports of numerous dead hives not being repopulated with bees this summer, concerns are continuing to grow regarding the how to protect brood chambers from pests, like the wax moth.

Recent and present weather has provided ideal conditions for the wax moth outbreaks to occur, which is only made worse with the fact that there are already existing populations here in the province. With conditions like these, wax moth eggs can hatch in as little as 3-5 days. Damage that occurs to equipment from these pests is significant and can be devastating to beekeepers and their operations.

The simplest way to monitor for wax moth is to set up a light trap in the shed where the brood chambers are being stored. It can be as simple as a light bulb over a pail of soapy water or using a “black light” to increase the attractiveness.

Tips for managing wax moth infestations focus on prevention and monitoring, as well as managing conditions and storage. Prevention is generally regarded as the best form of control regarding wax moth management. Wax moths can detect the smell of beeswax from great distances away using their antennae, therefore effective storage practices and managing conditions are critical to any good mitigation strategy.

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