T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Galleria mellonella (Greater wax moth)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Subfamily: Galleriinae
Tribe: Galleriini
Genus: Galleria
Species: G. mellonella
Binomial name: Galleria mellonella
Common names: Greater wax moth, Honeycomb moth

Galleria mellonella is found in most of the world including New Zealand. Its close relative, the lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella) is also found in New Zealand. Wax moths are pests of apiculture. Females lay clumps of olive shaped eggs (0.5 mm across) in crevices within the hive, laying >1800 tiny, pink/cream/white eggs in batches of between 50 and 150. In 5-8 days the eggs hatch. The larvae are pearly white initially, turning grey as they age. The larvae burrow into the hives wooden frame components and also feeding on the bee combs. The larvae burrow through combs often just under the cappings leaving a silken tunnel behind them. This silk sometimes traps the bee pupae and they can die. In serious infestations the entire box can be filled with pupae in white silk cocoons.

The adults moth has a body length of about 20mm and a wingspan is >40 mm. They are a brown moth with brown/ greyish wings. They tend to enter the hives at dusk.
The larvae are commercially available in New Zealand. They sold as food for the rearing of captive animals such as geckos, birds and predatory insects.

Below is a formulae recommended for a wax moth trap.Mix 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of vinegar , a couple of banana skins chopped up and put in a two litre milk bottle with a 50mm hole cut out of the front. Top up with water and hang it close to the hive. The banana skins and sugar will ferment attracting both wax moth and wasps which will drown in the mixture.

Galleria mellonella (Greater wax moth)


The mess from a wax moth infestation.
 

The cocoons are open to show the pupating larvae.


The larvae


The pupae in their white silk cocoons.


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/