Finally, it’s that time of year again, and your honeybees have successfully filled out your frames. It’s superb and fascinating, to say the least. However, if you’ve over-viewed your frames and discovered them infested with moth larvae, you may be unsure whether or not to consume this honey. So, is it safe to eat honey that has wax moths?
In some cases, honey super frames get infested with wax moths. Typically, this occurs because of the way it’s stored or due to the beehive. Needless to say, it is possible to extract honey from these frames, but keep in mind this honey shouldn’t be consumed or sold to anybody.
As you can see, if your honey is infested with wax moths, you should not consume it or sell it to any human. When someone consumes a wax moth, it can open up to all types of diseases and harmful pathogens. If you want to understand more about this, read the below:
Can you eat honey that has wax moths?
Wax moths are a pest to beehives worldwide, and while they won’t usually cause the whole colony to fail, it does mean that you shouldn’t eat the honey that’s been infested. It should really first come down to a question of if you would even want to. Many people eat insects around the world, but not like this. Would you want to eat honey that was potentially full of moths?
Wax moths are not exactly poisonous in themselves, but that doesn’t mean we can safely eat them. They may be carrying all sorts of pathogens and other harmful bacteria. Let’s break this down into a few points.
Do wax moths ruin honey?
The simple answer is that, yes, wax moths will ruin your honey. They infest it with their eggs which eventually hatch into larvae, and so you’ve got honey full of moth eggs and newly hatched larvae. If you wanted to eat that honey and it’s become infested with wax moths, you can forget it. It’s not worth the risk.
That said, the honey does not become utterly useless once wax moths have gotten at it. The wax moths pose no real threat to the bees in and of themselves, and bees are usually safe from the pathogens and bacteria they can carry. So, one thing that beekeepers like to do when they notice their hive is infested with larvae is to freeze the affected frames to kill any eggs or larvae. Then, you can safely return the frame to the hive and leave the caps off so that the bees eat it up.
So, for you, wax moths ruin honey; for the bees, not so much, with a bit of our help. So, how exactly are wax moths harmful to humans.
Are wax moths harmful to humans
For one thing, our digestive systems just aren’t accustomed to the pathogens they can carry. Wax moths obviously don’t attack humans, and you rarely even see them except once they’ve already infested your hive, so you’re not in any direct danger from them this way. The primary danger is ingesting them from eating infected honey.
If you did, you’d be eating larvae and eggs that could carry all sorts of problematic bacteria. Eating wax moths would be about as harmful as eating any bug straight out of its home environment.
So, how do you get rid of wax moths once they take hold? Read on to find out.
What kills wax moths from beehives?
There are lots of methods for getting rid of wax moths from an infected hive. One of the best is the first line of defense that prevents them from taking hold in the first place.
1. A DIY Wax moth trap
Take an empty plastic bottle, and fill it with a cup of water, half a cup of vinegar, and a cup of sugar. Chop up a banana peel into little pieces, and drop it into the bottle. Shake it to mix it all up, and leave it to ferment for a few days. Cut a small hole near the top of the bottle and hang it close to your hive. The moths will be attracted to the trap and get stuck.
2. Use a hive tool
If it’s too late and the moths have already taken hold, you’ll have to get into the hive with some tools. Use a hive tool to scrape wax and wax moth secretions off the hive and move them away.
3. Clean the frames and boxes with bleach
You’ll need to be thorough, so remove the affected sections of the hive and clean them thoroughly. This will eradicate any wax moths or larvae caught inside and discourage them from taking hold again in the same place.
4. Spray the frames with Bacillus Thuringiensis
This is the best preventative measure against future infestations. This bacterium that occurs naturally in the soil acts as an excellent bug killer. It can obviously be harmful to bees, so be careful before returning the cleaned parts to the hive.
If the infestation is too significant, the hive may need to be completely taken apart and cleaned at all points. It may be a hassle, but you need to be sure you’ve gotten rid of all the eggs.
Can you eat honey with wax moth larvae?
The big problem with eating honey that wax moths have infested is that it will be crawling with their larvae. This is why wax moths infest bees’ nests; they use the honey and wax as a place for their eggs to hatch and their larvae to gestate. Again, I would simply ask whether you really want to eat honey that’s become infested with insect larvae.
That said, all of the same issues with pathogens and bacteria do remain. You probably harm won’t yourself eating infested honey, but it won’t be good for you, either. Those larvae are potentially carrying all sorts of dangerous and harmful bacteria.
If you really need to be convinced that you shouldn’t eat infested honey, then no, you definitely shouldn’t eat infected honey. Just clean out your hive and try again, there will always be more honey waiting.