That’s what I get for leaving a super filled with frames inside my basement – d’oh!
Luckily, all is not ruined because the frames were made using plastic foundation and not wax. I’ve seen what unfettered wax moths can do to wax foundation and it is ugly! Yet, still the wax moths managed to eat the tiny bit of wax which was coated on top of the plastic. These pictures show the mess they left. All 10 frames looked this way. Inside the molded cells are tiny webs and frass (that’s fancy for moth poo).
This super was made up of frames from my two queen hive. These frames were never drawn out by the bees from my swarm. Since there wasn’t any wax on these frames from the bees, I thought it would be okay to store them inside my unheated basement. There must have been a wax moth egg or two in there, however, and the basement temps must have been warm enough, because at least one hatched and ate the only wax available to it. This was a lucky lesson for me for next year when I may be storing frames with wax foundation as well.
Next winter I will try to avoid wax moths by storing used supers outside in the cold weather and freezing any supers and frames that come inside. Additionally, I will also store supers on their side so light can get inside them, as light is also a deterrent to wax moths.
I plan on brushing these frames clean, rubbing more beeswax on top and using them in another hive this spring (that’s the beauty of plastic – it’s more or less indestructible). The bees can take care of any remaining moths that hatch inside the hive.
The moth that wrecked minor havoc on these frames could not have made it very far because I’m sure I would have seen it flying around my house. Unless my cats got to it first (go kitties).