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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Can I melt these mucked-up combs?

    I just endured my first Small Hive Beetle attack. It took out 5 of my nucs in no time. I'm deploying 3 different types of homemade traps, insect-eating nematodes in the ground around the hives, and a handheld vacuum to suck those Mo-Fo's up everytime I see 'em. I cut out all of my combs, immersing several that were slimed and had larvae throughout. A few also had a tunnel or two from wax moths. Can I melt these combs out in a solar wax melter and strain out all the bad stuff successfully (and if so, how)? Or should I just let the combs have a happy home in the compost pile?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,016

    Default Re: Can I melt these mucked-up combs?

    You can, but unless you have a lot of it you won't get much wax out of brood comb and you could never think of it as "clean."

    That said - I keep a bucket (with a screen colander on top) in my solar wax melter for just such things, and over time it does accumulate a good bit of wax that looks just fine. Might use it to make furniture polish or something someday, and in the process it pasteurizes the nasty comb for safe disposal. I keep another bucket in there for clean wax.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Can I melt these mucked-up combs?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    You can, but unless you have a lot of it you won't get much wax out of brood comb and you could never think of it as "clean."
    Thanks, David. So clean wax would be only honey comb, and used in candles, cosmetics, DIY foundation, etc.?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,016

    Default Re: Can I melt these mucked-up combs?

    I didn't mean that brood comb doesn't produce clean wax - that is a judgement call, but I bet they aren't choosy about the origins of the wax you can buy in Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart. What I meant was that usually combs that are slimed by SHB are brood combs, and it is hard to render all of the wax out of brood combs because the cocoons hang on to it. If you leave it in the solar melter long enough it will largely render out though.

    Really clean wax is mostly from cappings. It all looks pretty clean if you leave it in the melter for a long time because pretty much all of the visible impurities settle out - but "dirty" wax is always a darker color for me unless it is further processed. Nice cappings wax will be light yellow or almost white without doing anything else to it. It's worth keeping them separate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Can I melt these mucked-up combs?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    It's worth keeping them separate.
    Fabulous, thanks!

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