June 24, 2021
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Biology and Integrated Pest Management of Greater Wax Moth

Biology and Integrated Pest Management of Greater Wax Moth
Dr. Hadi Husain Khan1, Dr. Anjani Kumar2, Dr. Mohd. Monobrullah3, Habibul Haque4, Nirmal Chandra Ghose5 & Mofiul Islam6
1Research Associate, ICAR-DRMR-APART, Dhubri -783324 (Assam), India.
2ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Zone – IV, Patna- 801506 (Bihar), India.
3Principal Scientist, Division of Crop Research, ICAR-RCER, Patna- 800014 (Bihar), India.
4District Agricultural Officer-Cum-Project Director, ATMA, Dhubri – 783324 (Assam), India.
5SDAO (HQ)-Cum-Nodal Officer, ICAR-DRMR-APART, Dhubri – 783324 (Assam), India.
6Deputy Project Director, CSS-ATMA, Dhubri -783324 (Assam), India.

The greater wax moths (Galleria mellonella L.) are one of the most destructive pests of beekeeping industry in worldwide. It is belonged to the subfamily Galleriinae of the family Pyralidae and the Order: Lepidoptera. Previous research has shown that, the populations of both wild and feral honey bees have been declining in recent past years. G. mellonella are becoming the serious threat of beeswax at worldwide level. In apiaries, the G. mellonella causing the serious damage resulting in annual financial losses. The larvae of G. mellonella causing no direct damage to honey bees at any living stages but they are very destructive for the combs. Larval stage of G. mellonella damage the wax of combs and destroy frames and wooden parts of the hive. They feed on wax of the comb and other associated materials viz., pollen, propolis, dead bees and pupal cases of honey bees. Almost all colonies of asian honey bees like Apis cerana indica, Apis dorsata, Apis florea and Trigona spp. (Stingless bee) are prone to G. mellonella infestation. As a result of serious infestation, weak honey bee colonies abscond, while in stronger colonies honey bees population quickly reduced and complete destruction of colonies have also been recorded. Currently widespread, majorly in Africa and the possibility of it transmitting honey bees’ viruses have raised legitimate concerns, thus the studies are needed to find out the sustainable integrated management of G. mellonella.
Global Distribution:
The wax moth was observed for the first time in the colonies of Apis cerana indica but later it got spread to the northern Africa, Great Britain, some parts of Europe, Northern America and New Zealand. In tropical and subtropical countries, the larvae of G. mellonella causing significant damage to honey bees’ colonies, which is believed to be one of the major factors to decline in feral and wild honey bee’s population. Now a days, the presence of the greater wax moth larvae has been confirmed from 27 African countries, nine Asian countries, five North American countries, three Latin American countries, Australia, ten European countries and five island countries. Moths increasingly recognized economic role globally, especially in Africa and Asia.
Nature of Damage of Greater Wax Moth:
The larvae of G. mellonella is one of the most important pests of bee’s products. It is noticed throughout the year but more common and severe during July to October. The young stage (caterpillar) lives in the silken tunnel made by larva and feed on the propolis, pollen, honey, cast-off honeybee pupal skins, brood and wax in the combs. The tunnels made by the larvae on the cell caps and makes holes through which honey comes out. As they penetrate the wax layer, particles of wax are dislodged and fall into the cells and in the hive. The presence of the loose dislodged particles is the first symptom of the attack. When the infestation is serious, the combs has been covered with silken web with the numerous black fecal materials of caterpillar and in such cases the bees abandon the colony. The silken threads confound emergent bees, result, die of starvation and a phenomenon described as Galleriasis. Large scales infestations of colonies by larvae of the greater wax moth often led to complete loss of colony.
Sustainable Integrated Approach of Greater Wax Moth:
1. Beekeepers should maintain strong and healthy colonies by practicing good colony management to help the bees defend against wax moths.
2. Simplest way is to prevent wax moth getting into the hive through gaps and space.
3. Use of traps to draw the moths away from the hive area.
4. Traps can play an important role in a wax moth integrated management plan because of their safety in providing control without fear of hive product contamination.
5. Wax moth larvae and eggs are killed by freezing for 24hours.
6. Maximum use of light and ventilation is recommended to control wax moths.
7. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) formulation sprayed on the combs of A. cerana brood.
8. Wax moths can be controlled in stored comb by application of aizwai variety of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The old and unused brood combs of A. dorsata, A. cerana and A. florea were fitted to sticky traps for attraction of greater wax moth.
9. To control wax moths, paradichlorobenzene (PDB) and aluminum phosphide (Phostoxin). PDB is registered for wax moth control for use in protecting stored comb.
10. Beeswax combs treated with two per cent Neem Azal-T/S causing 100 per cent mortality when fed on very old wax.
Conclusion :
Greater wax moth, G. mellonella is one of the most devastating pests of honey bess at worldwide. G. mellonella is occurring at worldwide level and becoming very serious threat to beekeeping industry. For the better management practice of greater wax moth larvae first of all we need to understand the biology of G. mellonella. The purpose of this objective is to give the complete information about the integrated and ecofriendly management approach for G. mellonella.
Reference :
1. Kumar, G. And Khan, M. S., 2018, Study of the life cycle of greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) under storage conditions in relation to different weather conditions. J. Entomol. Zool. Stud., 6(3): 444-447.
2. Kwadha, C. A. Ong’amo, G. O. Ndegwa, P. N. Raina, S. K. And Fombong, A. T., 2017, The biology and control of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Insects, 8(2): 61-66.
3. Wojda, I. Staniec, B. Sułek, M. And Kordaczuk, J., 2020, The greater wax moth Galleria mellonella: biology and use in immune studies. Pathogens and Disease, 78(9): ftaa057.

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