2.4. Wax moth adults

The adult greater wax moth is approximately 15 mm long with a 31 mm average wingspan. The wings are grey in colour, though the hind third of the wing, normally hidden, is bronze coloured (Fig. 10). The wing venation patterns can be used as a diagnostic between greater and lesser wax moths (Ferguson, 1987; Fig. 11). Male greater wax moths are slightly smaller than females, lighter in colour, and have an indented, scalloped front wing margin in contrast to the females that have a straight front wing margin (Paddock, 1918). The female antennae are 10-20 % longer than those of the male (Paddock, 1918). Greater wax moths emerge as adults in early evening and find a protected place to expand and dry their wings. Greater wax moths do not feed as adults and the females live ~12 days while the males live ~21 days (Paddock, 1918).

Fig. 10. Greater wax moth pupal cocoons. They are clumped together on the side wall of a brood super. Photograph: Lyle Buss, University of Florida.

Figure 10


Fig. 11. Greater (left) and lesser (right) wax moth adults. (upper left) greater wax moth male, (lower left) greater wax moth female, (upper right) lesser wax moth male, (lower right) lesser wax moth female. Photograph is to scale. Photographs: Lyle Buss, University of Florida.

Figure 11