Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Uncommon and thinly distributed and restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 2   See here for explanation

Flight time: Mid May-mid Oct.

Forewing: 14-20mm.

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 recorded188519951885
Year last recorded201020102010
Number of records13331328
Number of individuals11129280
Unique positions5910138
Unique locations549126
Adult records12329304
Immature records306

For the region, we have a total of 328 records from 126 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1885.


1425 Galleria mellonella (Wax Moth) 05
© Gillian Nash, October 2017
1425 Galleria mellonella (Wax Moth) 04
© Mike Hetherington, 15 July 2017
1425 Wax Moth 03
© Richard Cottle
1425 Galleria mellonella (Wax Moth) 01
© Paul Harris
1425 Galleria mellonella (Wax Moth) 02
© David Kingman

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A widespread but declining species in England, the larva feeds on honeycomb in nests and in hives, preferring old combs. In Dorset, the moth has declined, and there is no evidence of residency in recent years. Historically, the species was a pest in beehives as the following old records indicate but even by the middle of the twentieth century, improved methods of bee-keeping meant that the species was becoming rare: Sherborne, abundant in neglected beehives (J Douglas), Chamberlaynes, very abundant in hives where the bees had suffered from Isle of Wight Acarine disease (H Andrewes), Cranborne, in the hives in the vicarage garden (W Parkinson Curtis).

However, the moth has been recorded at light traps on more than eighty occasions in the past twenty years across the county. The wind rose indicates the direction of the airflows on the associated dates, and the strong bias towards a south-easterly quarter suggests a central or southern European source for many of the moths. The dates often coincide with notable influxes of other immigrant Lepidoptera. The moth is multivoltine abroad, and so immigrants may be seen at any time between June and October with populations increasing through the year across Europe.

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