THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE ORIGINALLY POSTED. (I GOT MY ANSWER.)
I noticed two of these little grubs cocooned and burrowed in the insulation of one of my hives today. This photo shows a close up the grub after I cleared away the web-like cocoon. It’s about 2cm long.
Can anyone tell me if this is wax moth? I’m guessing it is. Second question: What can I do about it at this time of year? I just wrapped the hives for winter. I don’t plan on messing with them again until mid-February at the earliest.
I scraped away the grubs along with some earwigs. I’ve seen one or two of these grubs in the cracks of the outer cover a few times over the summer, though not in any kind of cocoon. I scraped them away immediately. I’ve never seen them inside the hive, though I haven’t done a full hive inspection since September.
As far as I can tell, the colony has been healthy and active with a strong population and plenty of winter stores. My feeling is the bees can handle it. I’d rather leave them alone. I welcome anyone’s advice. Thanks.
UPDATE (Nov. 22/10): I’ve had time to dig a little deeper and I got my answers. Yes, it’s a wax moth larva. And no, I shouldn’t have to worry about it at this time of year. From page 119 of The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum: “Once the outside temperature goes below 40°F (5°C), the temperature essentially halts all moth activity (but does not eliminate them), and your supers are safe for the winter, no matter where or how you store them, as long as it stays that cold.” That’s good enough for me. The colony is otherwise healthy and strong and will probably deal with any remaining moth larvae on its own in the spring. Had I noticed large number of wax moth cocoons and larvae in the hives during warmer weather, I would have had to freeze the effected frames for 48 hours to kill all remnants of the moth. We’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it. Back to winter relaxing now.