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Subject: Wax moth

Wax moth

From: Michael Trinkley <chicora1>
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 1998
Hans-Christoph von Imhoff asks a series of questions regarding the
wax moth, which our moderator suggests might be Galleria mellonella.
While its impossible to precisely identify the pest without seeing
it, I suspect that Galleria is a very good guess, at least if the
infestation were in this country. It is about 16 mm in length and
has a wing span of about 23 mm. The wings appear to be gray, with
the basal tips appearing bronze.

Known as the Greater Wax Moth, it is most commonly found in the
combs of abandoned or weakened bee colonies. It becomes a structural
pest most often when people kill off bee colonies, leaving the comb
behind (a very bad idea, but that is another issue altogether). The
moth larvae have the ability to actually bore through wall board,
seeking refuge behind wallpaper, paintings, and bookcases.

The larvae typically feed on the pollen and waste materials in the
comb, so I wouldn't have thought they would find much in refined
bees wax, but I'm not really very familiar with how thoroughly bees
wax is cleaned up before being used. Regardless, another clue to
their presence are their silken tunnels which will spread throughout
the comb.

Heating the wax should certainly kill the adults and larvae, and I
would suspect the eggs, although I don't recall any real information
on this issue, since that is not the normal treatment in structural
infestations. Best,

Michael Trinkley, Ph.D.
Chicora Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 8664
Columbia, SC  29202-8664

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:65
                 Distributed: Friday, January 30, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-65-002
Received on Wednesday, 28 January, 1998

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