Re: the truth about wax worms

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Posted by Shad Lips on January 17, 2003 at 09:30:20:

In Reply to: Re: wax worms??????????? posted by Danny Blackburn on January 16, 2003 at 20:06:33:

Wax worms used for bait are the larvae stage of the wax worm moth. Here are some facts about them.

Scientific name:
Galleria mellonella greater wax moth

Common name(s):
bee moth, honeycomb moth, greater wax worm moth

General Information:
The greater wax moth goes through four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The life cycle from egg to adult is about six to seven weeks at temperatures of 86F and a relative humidity of 75 to 85 percent. Larvae pass through seven growth stages (instars) during feeding, with most growth in the last two stages. Mature larvae spin a cocoon and pass into the pupa stage, from which the adult moth later emerges.
Greater wax worm moths are gray or brown, about 3/4 inch long with a wingspread of about 1-1/2 inches. Eggs are white and tiny. Larvae are milky white or light tan and, when disturbed, crawl rapidly backward almost as easily as forward. Larvae spin silken threads as they eat, turning from light tan to dark gray or brown on maturing. Next, they spin their white silk cocoons and enter the pupa stage.

Wax moth larvae should be housed in glass or metal containers such as wide-mouth glass jars, plastic crispers, large lard cans or honey cans. Larvae will chew through wood and soft plastic. Use 20 mesh wire-screens for lids or covers.

Larvae in nature feed on pollen, honey and beeswax in honeybee combs and are, in nature, found within weak honey bee hives, larvae tunnel into honeycombs, leaving a mass of webs, debris and damaged frames. They are considered an insect pest of honeycombs.

William F. Lyon, Rearing Wax Worms, Ohio State University

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