Like most insects, wax moths begin as larvae.
The female moth is said to release between 300 and 600 eggs along the comb or within crevices on the hive. Eggs gestate and hatch within three to five days.
According to the Department of Agricultural and Primary Industries (DAPI), wax moths thrive on diets of fresh or dried pollen. Pollen becomes unusable for human consumption once eggs hatch, even if the pollen has already been placed in a package.
It is said that wax moths cause the most damage to bees during warmer months when they are active.
Beekeepers especially are advised to keep a close eye on combs during the period when bees begin storage. While a comb may appear infestation-free, it is possible the comb may contain larvae eggs which will later hatch.
“Wax moth larvae prefer dark brood combs that contain some pollen,” says the DAPI. “However, combs sticky with honey after extracting, white combs, and combs containing honey are still at risk of attack.”
The larvae dwell into the hive and can even damage frames by chewing into the wood to make holes for cocoons.
According to experts, the best way to avoid wax moths is to keep apiaries clean.
“Clean, refined beeswax including foundation is not readily subject to wax moth attack,” says DAPI.
Another method of curtailing the moths is by using freezing devices that kill eggs.
According to DAPI, “A temperature of four-degree Celsius will restrict wax moth activity.”
Another tip is to collect pollen every two to three days, to help reduce the risk of infestation.