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Author Topic: Wax moths, robbing, help!  (Read 2152 times)

Offline Eve Sylvia

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Wax moths, robbing, help!
« on: October 21, 2007, 06:20:47 PM »
Two days ago we noticed what looked like robbing on my only hive, which has been vigorous all season.
(Three weeks ago I removed a super full of lovely honey and all was well.The 2 deep hive bodies were healthy then.)

I closed up the hive very tight, leaving only a small front entrance blocked by pine needles. Today the robbing looked worse, more wrestling bees and also yellow jackets, so I hefted the hive, which had been very heavy the day before, and found it much lighter.
When I went in I was horrified. The whole interior had been devastated by disgusting fat wax moths, everywhere! I took it all apart, destroyed as many larvae as possible, left what honey scraps were available outside for cleaning (and more robbing no doubt), replaced frames and what bits of honey comb were left. I am making syrup now, but I didn't see any queen or brood, and I don't know if it is too late to save this  hive. Can I feed and re-queen now? I have 3 frames of nice honey in the freezer that I had saved or late winter feeding, and if they will help I will use them now, but with no queen in sight it seems almost pointless.
What shall I do???
Help!

Offline hooyaman

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 06:41:41 PM »
I feel for ya and know how it is to lose a hive.  Are you sure the bees haven't abandoned the hive because of the wax moths and are taking the honey with them. I have only been beekeeping a few years, but I had a hive once that was doing the same as yours and my bees left my hive and took the honey with them.  I'm not saying yours are doing that, but its possible. If the bees have abandoned the hive and are returning for the honey, re-queening wont help you.  Don't take my word for it though, I'm just guessing.  Sorry I couldn't help you more.
                                                                                                jeff

Offline Eve Sylvia

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2007, 06:44:32 PM »
I don't know, from the wrestling among the bees there I have a feeling it is a free for all.
I don't know where they could be going, either. They seem to want to go back in, they are defending their poor empty hive box now.

Offline Robo

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 07:04:52 PM »
Sounds like you lost your queen.  How old was she?   With only one hive, there is not much you can do.  Even if you were to re-queen, it sounds like they are too weak to make it.  If they can not fight off wax moths now, they will not be strong enough to make it through the winter.  There is not enough time for a new queen to raise any bees.  Sorry to say it, but this is why everyone should have more than 1 hive.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline JP

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 08:34:14 PM »
Eve, this hive will most likely not make it, but if you want to try and save them I would suggest placing them in a nuc. Of course you would have to requeen but you will be hard pressed to find one now from a breeder, but you could put your feelers out. Perhaps someone in your area has access to a feral queen.
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Offline Understudy

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2007, 09:00:20 PM »
Reduce the hive down to a nuc. Use the best frames of the hive. Check for a laying queen in 3-4 days. Doesn't sound good for the hometeam.

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2007, 09:15:26 PM »
The hive had already failed, hence the wax moths, then the robbers just cashed in on the failure.
Michael Bush
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Offline Eve Sylvia

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 09:34:07 PM »
Thank you all, just as I feared.
so it means better luck and better efforts next year, and start early with 2 or 3 hives instead of one, I guess.
Thanks again.

Offline JP

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2007, 09:38:49 PM »
Eve, you will have losses, we all do to some degree, its beekeeping. Definitely have at least two hives to draw resources from, Good luck. :)
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 08:39:24 AM »
It might be educational to search the bottom for Varroa mites and see if there are thousands or only a few dead on the bottom board.  If there are thousands, they  are likely the culprit.  If only a few, then it's more likely the hive went queenless, the bees drifted to other hives and when they got too weak the wax moths and the robbers took advantage.
Michael Bush
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Offline Cindi

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2007, 01:15:10 AM »
Eve, I am sorry to hear of this.  There is so many hard things to deal with when we keep bees, you are experiencing one of the sad parts.  Keep your chin up. Things will be better for you next year.

Yes, Eve, at least have 2 colonies (or even three would be better).  That way, if one colony becomes weak, queenless, whatever, you can always lean on another hive to help that colony out, or you can unite a colony with another one.  There are so many advantages to having more than one colony.

When I took my beekeeping courses, my instructor almost and absolutely "made" us get two colonies, not only one.  We did have a choice of course, but he was so adamant about having two, just in case of colony issues, that it made you really realize how important it was not have more than 1 only.  Good luck next year.  This will be good.  Have a wonderful and great day.  Cindi
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Offline sean

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Re: Wax moths, robbing, help!
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2007, 07:20:01 PM »
since the last couple of months i've always tried to keep a nuc or 2 for situations just like this. once i confirm that one of the main hives is queenless i can transfer a queen from the nuc. i have had to do this about 3 times most recently last week.

Sorry to hear of your plight eve, but "chin up" and try not to focus on the loss of the hive but the experience you will now have gained.