Conventional wisdom (a.k.a. most beekeeping books and most experienced beekeepers) warn that it is dangerous to store drawn wax comb, because of wax moths.
Those sources are absolutely correct.
Backstory: Since the last time I posted, we lost Thyme hive. It’s a bit of a long, depressing story, but the end of it is that Thyme was weakened by the events documented here, and then they were robbed by yellow jackets, and then they absconded. “Absconded” is bee-speak for “We have had it, we are out of here!” When conditions in a hive become too difficult, they pack up everything they can carry and just – leave. We saw the robbing on Sunday evening, put an entrance reducer on it, and by the time Hubs got home from work on Monday afternoon, Thyme hive was gone. Nothing left but a few stray yellow jackets and some badly damaged comb. We closed up the entrance with duct tape so the yellow jackets couldn’t get out, and plopped the whole hive into the freezer to kill ’em.
After two days in the deep freeze, we pulled it out and assessed it. All the frames that were drawn out wide or not straight, I went ahead and cut the wax out right away and rendered it down. But I saved out ten frames that were nice and straight, so that I could intersperse them with empty frames next year and encourage the girls to draw their new wax nice and straight.
While I was inspecting them, I did see some weird white worms in one or two of the cells.
And right there, y’all, is where my judgment EPIC FAIL began. I thought that those weird little worms might be wax moth larvae. I mean, like I said, Thyme had been weakened already, and wax moths do attack weakened hives. But they were not moving. They looked dead. I pulled them out, and then didn’t worry about them any more. I assumed that the two days in the deep freeze had killed them.
I left a hive box full of frames sitting on my dining room table for almost a month and a half, because procrastination is my superpower. They looked fine. And then, in an attempt to make the dining room table available for stuff – like dining, perhaps – I put it into a lockable plastic storage tub and stored it in a little-used room of our home.
Q: What are conditions like inside a storage tub?
A: Warm, dark, with little to no ventilation.
Q: What kind of conditions do wax moths like best?
A: Dark, warm, poorly ventilated spaces. ¹
All y’all see where this is going, right?
It took less than two weeks.