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Thread: wax wax wax

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mapleton, ME
    Posts
    28

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    Hello Everyone-

    I have 20 hives and I have a stock pile of old wax, given to me by another beekeeper who is retiring. What is the best equipment to purchase to render the wax? I think that my operation is a little big for a solar heater, but maybe i am wrong...

    Some of the wax is clean, but some is dirty...thanks for your help.

    Also, what is the best way to get honey out of the bur comb from the hives? Leave it out in the open for the bees to eat? Thanks again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    97

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    Just make a larger wax melter. An old patio door ect. would work great. I think you would be very happy with the results. Just spend a little time in insulating the box to reduce heat loss. Silicone caulking, and 1/2 inch sheet insulaton would go a long ways in making the best melter. Best of all you would probably have less in all the materials than the shipping costs would be on a melter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,894

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    I've never had a solar melter. I'm sure they are nice.

    I melt it in a big pot with water in the bottom to keep it from getting too hot and pour it through a screen sieve to get out the coccoons and such first. Then I pour it through some fine cheesecloth to get out the smaller pieces of dirt and then pour it into molds to let the sediment settle out. I try to have a small amount of the water I used in the bottom so the pollen and such get wet and settle to the bottom. Rather than have a 1" thick chunk 12" in diameter, it's better to have a 12" thick chunk so you waste less scraping off the sediment. When it's hard, scrape off all of the sediment and throw it away or use it for starting your charcol or campfires. It's not worth shipping it somwhere to have it cleaned up. If you have a real wax processing system (steam press etc.) then you can get the wax out of this, but otherwise it isn't worth the effort. After it's nice and clean I do like having it in smaller, thinner chunks so I can choose how much I want when adding it to make foundation etc. I like the tubs from Walter Kelly for casting the wax when it's clean. You can pop the sides loose and push on the bottom and pop it out. Especialy if there is a small amount of water in the bottom to keep it from sticking.

    I often leave burr comb in a bowl where the bees can find it but away from the hives and let them clean it. It depends on how much there is. If there is really not much I'll just throw it in the melter and melt it. If it's a lot more I'll put it in the uncapping tub and let it drain. It just has to be enough honey to be worth cleaning the tub twice (once before and once after). Or enough to be worth feeding it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mapleton, ME
    Posts
    28

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    Thanks for the excellent information! I would imagine a paper milk carton with the top cut off would make a good container to pour the wax into so you can scrape off the bottom later. I tryed boiling the wax in water, then let it cool expecting all the bad stuff to drop to the bottom. Well, that did not work at all, all the casings floated to the top! Thanks again. -d

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

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    Also you can use a large crock pot to melt the wax w/ some water in it. I like this as I can leave it unattended without fear of burning the house down.

    Clay

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,894

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    I bought an electric roaster pan that has a thermostat on it and it helps a lot. The water will help the pollen to sink to the bottom but the coccoons will not. You have to filter it at least twice to get it very clean. Once through a screen and again through a cloth. It's true a cardboard milk carton works well because its a bit taller than it is wide and it's a nice workable chunk of wax for later. I haven't seen one in a very long time. I buy all my milk several gallons at a time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mapleton, ME
    Posts
    28

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    If you want any milk boxes let me know, I only buy milk from the local dairy and only in the half gallon containers. Be happy to send them to you for all your help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,844

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    I have managed wax melting for as many as 50 hives with a standard solar melter. It only takes a day to process a 5g. bucket of cappings, of which I produce five to ten a year. That leaves about five other months for old frames, excluders, feral takeouts etc.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    97

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    A local beekeeper was telling me he uses old sweat-shirts with the fuzzy part facing up. This sounds like a great filter to me. He processes wax for 40+ hives so I think he knows what he's talking about. Either way I'll try it next week.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mapleton, ME
    Posts
    28

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    Thanks for all the info.

    Just a side note, I installed my first packages of bees last month. 20 of them, dived right in. All went pretty well, didn't get stung I also threw the gloves off after the first package, suckers made it too aquard and I lost patience with them(the gloves)...

    After installing the packages, I left them alone for 7 days. As most of my books said, this is necessary so the hive will accept the queen. Well, let me tell you, when I went back after 7 days for a look-see and to remove the queen cage, WHAT A MESS! Those busy little bees in 19 cases had built burr comb EVERYWHERE! In 5 hives, they had almost built an entire "frame" of wax. In most cases it was full of eggs also. Felt terrible having to cut it all out. In the future I will give them a max 5 days after installation....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,894

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    I would have just opened and taken out the queen cage at 3. Don't mess with them a lot, but it's not that distrubing to just pull the cage.

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