Part 2: Failed Queen Leading To Wax Moth

Part 2: Failed Queen Leading To Wax Moth

The answer to Part 1 was “no”:  it was a swarm from someone else’s hives.

Lockdown beekeeping: what’s happened since I last wrote?

  • The new, mated Queen I bought and introduced was killed
  • At the time, I assumed either (A) they just didn’t like her; (B ) poor beekeeping or (C) there was a virgin Queen in the hive at the time
  • A few weeks later I started to then find drone comb in the colony (but no cells with lots of eggs in, i.e. no laying workers)
  • That must have meant when I killed the old Queen in April, a Virgin Queen was in the hive (is this even possible?)
  • I concluded the Virgin Queen never mated and she became a drone laying Queen
  • With a dwindling colony and no other solutions I hoped that perhaps somehow she would lay some workers or a new queen
  • Wax moth got in and destroyed all the comb

All of the above presented some good lockdown biology lessons for my daughter and some awareness of the “birds and the bees”, but not great beekeeping lessons!

Wax Moth Photos

I was a big fan of Vita’s B401 and when its successor B402 is released in the UK next year I’ll be stocking up after 2 years of wax moth infestations.  It’s already available in the USA.  Please note Vita are an important beekeeping supplier and a sponsor of this blog.

Wax Moth Cocoons - September 2020
Wax Moth Cocoons – September 2020
Wax Moth In Honeybee Comb
Wax Moth In Honeybee Comb

The first time you experience wax moth destruction, it’s really distressing.

The Future

I am down to zero colonies.  A winter without any bees!

Catching a swarm next April/May will be my priority.  A hive in the field and a nuc box at the front of our house both with swarm attractant will hopefully do the job.  We’ll see.  But I’m hopeful.

Stay safe, lots of love and see you next year!