2. Identification of greater and lesser wax moths
“Wax moth” is the common name for a variety of moths that invade, occupy and damage bee hives, though two species are known to impact honey bee colonies specifically. The wax moth has also been called the bee moth, the wax (or bee) miller, the waxworm or webworm. The greater wax moth is the more destructive and common comb pest whilst the lesser wax moth is both less prevalent and less destructive. Both wax moth species undergo complete metamorphosis. They have four stages of development: egg; larva; pupa; and adult. With proper training, one can recognize the differences between greater and lesser wax moths of all life stages. Most of our discussion of wax moth in this document concerns the greater wax moth, since it is the more investigated of the two species. Nevertheless, we do include information on lesser wax moths where known and appropriate, especially in Table 1 where diagnostic characteristics between greater and lesser wax moths are listed.