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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of the Dietary and Tissue Sterols of the Greater Wax Moth, Galleria Mellonella (L.)

item Feldlaufer, Mark
item Harrison, Dawn
item Wilzer Jr, Kenneth

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 24, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The wax moth is a pest of honey bee products, primarily eating and destroying honey comb. We have examined the cholesterol content of wax moths and compared this with the amount of cholesterol found in the comb. Our results indicate that wax moths convert comb sterols to cholesterol. Therefore, compounds that interfere with this conversion could be used to control wax moth, thereby reducing our reliance on conventional pesticides (fumigants).

Technical Abstract: The neutral sterols of the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella were determined and compared to the sterols isolated from the used brood comb upon which the insects were reared. Analysis by gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed that used brood comb contained primarily 28- and 29-carbon sterols, with cholesterol accounting for less than 1% of the total sterols detected. This differed considerably from the insect, where cholesterol comprised over 85% of the tissue sterols. These results indicate the wax moth is able to convert dietary 24- alkylsterols to cholesterol. The potential for using inhibitors of sterol metabolism to control G. mellonella is discussed.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015