Lesser Wax Moth
Identification: Introduced to California in mid-1800’s, the Lesser Wax moth has almost world-wide distribution.
Head: Very smooth, no tufts of hair; pale orange-yellow. Whiskers (palpi) very short; male palpi turn upward, female palpi extend straight out.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown to light brown; long, reaching to mid-wing. Base (scape) slightly thickened.
Thorax: Smooth and shiny. Light brown to silver-gray. Underside paler.
Wings: Wings wide but usually wrapped around body. Shiny light brown to silver-gray. Tips rounded with long fringe. Hindwings whitish-gray with long, gray fringe.
Legs: Slender, pale brownish-gray.
Abdomen: Pale brownish-gray.
Similar Species: Superficially resembles Crambid Snout Acentria ephemerella which has shiny white-gray wings more spread out at rest, a darker thorax and no orange on head.
Size: Female about 11 mm. Male about 7 to 8 mm.
Habitat: Beehives and storage areas of dried fruits.
Food: Adults – unknown. Larvae feed on wax honeycomb; dried fruits, including grapes (raisins) and apples. One report from the Netherlands of feeding on cork mat material used in insect collections.
Flight Time: June per photographs, but has 2 generations per year.
Life Cycle: Males use ultrasonic noise to attract females. Females lay eggs inside beehives or on dried fruit. Larvae create webs and feed from under the webs. Rarely attracted to lights.
Comments: Essex County – photos Jun 17, 2012. Not listed for Ontario (Pohl 2018).
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page