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Pest Information

Greater Wax Moth

Greater Wax Moth

  • Latin Name: Galleria mellonella
  • Common Name: Greater Wax Moth
  • Latin Family Name: Pyralidae
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Greater Wax Moth
Greater Wax Moth
Greater Wax Moth


Possibly native to North America.


The larvae of this moth are serious pests to beekeepers, as they may infest active beehives, where they feed on pollen and other waste materials in the hive, but bore through the honeycomb cells as they move about, causing great destruction. They commonly infest abandoned bee hives as well, and when these are in structures the larvae may bore through sheetrock and wall coverings as well. The adults are attracted to lights, but the presence of numbers of them indoors may indicate an active infestation within the structure.


The larvae are white initially, and turn to darker brown or black as they mature. They pupate on the outside of a hive, and the presence of these pupae and silk webbing in the hive may indicate the moth presence. Adults are medium sized moths with a wingspan of about 1.25 inches. Their wings are a grayish brown with several darker markings on them. While at rest with the wings folded there are tufts of scales on the top that give the wings a “bumpy” appearance, and the outer edge of the forewings is distinctly concave.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

A determination should be made as to whether or not the moths originated from within the structure or simply came to outside lights. If they are from the structure an inspection will determine the location of an old or an active bee colony, and this needs to be removed from the structure entirely. Pesticide applications are not called for.

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