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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dawkins

Help Now on Hand to Beat Wax Moth


If you’ve kept bees for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly seen it – the destructive capabilities of wax moth. Prevention is really the only cure too, because once the moths set in, it’s too late. Kiwi beekeepers now have help at hand though, with Ceracell and global honey bee health experts Vita Bee Health teaming up to provide a preventative treatment for the first time.

It’s named B402, and once diluted in water can be sprayed onto both sides of wax frames post-harvest, to provide protection through to the following honey season. Based on a concentrated solution of the micro-organism Bacillus thuringiensis, it is an environmentally friendly product, which leaves no residue in wax or honey and does not alter the taste of honey.

New Zealand beekeepers now have a treatment in B402 to combat wax moth and prevent this sort of destruction.

“After years of research and development, Ceracell is thrilled to introduce B402 to New Zealand beekeepers,” Ceracell owner Bruce Clow says.

“This product offers a straightforward yet effective solution by eliminating wax moth larvae, thereby preventing the havoc they wreak on beehive equipment. B402 not only addresses this critical issue but also supports beekeepers in maintaining their equipment more effectively. By safeguarding frames during storage over winter, it helps reduce costs and streamline preparation for the upcoming spring season.”

The serotype present in B402 is an organic compound and the sole variety of Bacillus thuringiensis to give excellent results against wax moth while being safe for bees and users alike.

“One of the most pressing issues we encounter from beekeepers is combating wax moth infestations. This problem is deeply troubling for both hobbyist and commercial beekeepers due to its destructive impact, leading to significant financial costs for equipment replacement and extensive time spent on cleaning and preparation for the spring season,” Clow says.

In New Zealand, beekeepers primarily contend with two species of wax moth that pose significant challenges: the Greater Wax Moth (Galleria mellonella) and the Lesser Wax Moth (Achroia grisella). Both species are notorious for infesting beehives, laying eggs in beeswax and pollen residues. Once hatched, the larvae tunnel through comb, feeding on beeswax, pollen, and even bee larvae and pupae, which can lead to structural damage and contamination of hive equipment. Wax moth larvae prefer dark, warm environments, making stored hive equipment and neglected hives vulnerable. The larvae of both species can quickly destroy honeycomb and cause contamination of stored honey with their silk cocoons and fecal matter. This not only compromises the quality of honey but also necessitates extensive cleaning and replacement of damaged comb.

Ceracell have teamed up with Vita Bee Health to bring B402 to New Zealand, adding the valuable wax moth preventative to beekeepers’ arsenals.

B402 is a preventative treatment, which should be applied to equipment before heavy infestation as it is most effective against young larvae of both Greater Wax Moth and Lesser Wax Moth species. The product comes in two concentrate sizes, which are to be diluted at a 1:19 ratio with water. The 148ml bottle will treat 70-100 full-depth Langstroth frames, and the 946ml bottle 450-650 frames.

“Wax moth is a pernicious problem that reports suggest is increasing across the world,” says Vita Bee Health commercial manager Sebastian Owen, who overseas distribution of B402 to beekeepers around the globe.

“So we are especially pleased that we can now introduce this biotech wax moth control solution to New Zealand beekeepers."



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