Bee Diary: May 9, 2011 Wax Moths

Beltane                                                                       Waxing Last Frost Moon

Minnesota Hobby Bee Keepers last night.  There’s always something at these events.  Last night Gary Reuters, Marla Spivak’s associate and bee wrangler, took general questions on hive management.  He does this every meeting, but he took more time last night.  I learned about wax moths.  Wax moths, which come on the winds of mid-summer, infest hives and ruin the comb.  If all the hive box frames are on colonies by July, this is not a problem because the bees fend them off.  Then, when the season is over, any frames left out of a hive box go into the cold shed and the moth larvae die over the winter.

Here’s the interesting part.  The function of the wax moth is to invade vacated bee colonies and reduce the comb and other residue, like propolis, to a substance more usable by the rest of nature.  In other words the wax moth is another aspect of the intricate dance in which the bees participate, a natural part.  The number of things bees can teach us seems, at this stage in my learning, as numerous as the pollinators themselves.

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