This deep of Lang frames looked like an Adam’s Family Accordion. It’s a sign of allowing something to happen that should have dealt with a long time ago. This colony was struggling last fall and I thought it had lived long enough to be out of danger from wax moths. I thought it had frozen hard enough to kill moths before this colony died. As you can see I was wrong. These frames had to be beaten out of the box with a mallet and the chickens went to work on them.
The chickens have come to associate frames in their yard with wax worm treats. I capture many swarms every year. Not all of them can make it. I watch for failing colonies in late summer, but wax moths move in quickly that time of year. If the damage is bad enough the frames go to the chickens. When using foundationless frames in the brood chamber problems like these are greatly simplified. The chickens will either remove the damaged comb searching for Worms or it can easily cut out using a cold capping knife. Any excess comb or propolis is then scraped off with a hive tool and the frames are ready for service.
Don’t let it happen to you
I should never have allowed this to happen. Luckily wax worms are not a vector for bee disease. When the colony was in it’s death throws I should have shaken the bees from the frames and taken this hive-ware in for cleaning and storage. No matter how vigilant you are as a beekeeper every once in a while moths are going to establish in some of your equipment. When they do they will chew on wood and make holes in your frames. This is a mess, and is best prevented. It’s much more of a mess when using foundation. A frame with foundations usually must be totally reworked.
Foundation is used in my honey supers. This is one reason I don’t place supers on juvenile colonies during the first year unless I am very certain they will overwinter. Young swarms are more prone to failure, which will leave supers easy pickings for worms. It is best to hive newly caught swarms and allow them to focus on distinguishing themselves the first year as survivors. Only when they have overwintered and show signs of treatment-free vigor can they be trusted to keep wax worms off your equipment. Healthy colonies will keep wax moths from getting established.
Have you had any experience with Wax Moth’s yet?
If you keep bees long enough you will eventually meet them.