Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Local

Local Status: Scarce and thinly distributed or restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: Jun-early Oct.

Forewing: 8-12mm.

Foodplant: Bees wax from hives.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded188520041885
Year last recorded201020102010
Number of records29772
Number of individuals17748
Unique positions20244
Unique locations22248
Adult records19752
Immature records204

For the region, we have a total of 72 records from 48 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1885.


1426 Lesser Wax Moth 03
© Julian Francis
1426 Achroia grisella 02
© Paul Harris
1426 Achroia grisella 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A common species in England and Wales, the larva feeding on honeycomb, preferring old rather than fresh wax, dead bees and detritus in beehives. In 2008, Dr P Sterling found several adult specimens at West Bexington indoors in a bedroom beneath a wild beehive in the attic. This is the only record of residency in recent years, although historically it was plentiful in apiaries: Sherborne, abundant in old beehives (J Douglas), and Chamberlaynes, common in beehives (H Andrewes).

The following are all the recent MV light trap records for the species. Galleria mellonella1425 was also seen in the county on the 1995, July 1996, 1997 and 2003 dates. Migrant-bearing south-easterly or easterly airflows were established on all occasions. The status of the moth is a declining resident of wild beehives and an occasional immigrant: Weymouth, on 2 July 1994 (Dr P Sterling), 19 August 1997 (J Pyett), Shaggs, on 6 August 2002 (M Parsons), Morden Bog, on 16 August 1997, and Shapwick, on 15 July 2003, 5 September 2003, and Gaunts Common, on 11 October 1995, 9 July 1996, 13 October 1996, 10 August 1997, 19 August 1997 (P Davey), West Blagdon, on 4 August 2003 (D Green), Hurn, on 17 July 2007 (M Jeffes).

See background to species accounts.  Index of Vernacular names - Search - Random Species