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Thread: Buying Wax

  1. #1

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    I didn't know whether to put this question in the general beekeeping thing or this one-- I assume "honey" includes all other hive products?
    Anyway, I need to buy some beeswax for my foundation mold...gearing up for a nice winter project.
    My question is, is there any risk of beeswax carrying diseases like foulbrood or anything? I believe Dadant sells bricks of it, probably mingled from different hives from all over. Does the heating/melting/filtering process kill any and all nasty dangerous stuff? How about wax sold by smaller apiaries?
    I know some wax is sold with the assumption that people are just going to use it for candle making or other crafts, rather than in the hive with bees, so thought I'd ask if there's anything I need to be aware of when purchasing it for foundation use.


  2. #2

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    Hi Loren
    I have some wax no pesticides in it I don't use any strips in my hives. I treat naturaly but I get little more money for it. I have sold Michiel Bush some wax in the past by the lb.How much you looking for and do you make it into foundation and like to trade some?
    Don

  3. #3
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    >I didn't know whether to put this question in the general beekeeping thing or this one-- I assume "honey" includes all other hive products?

    I'd put it under the wanted to buy forum.

    >Anyway, I need to buy some beeswax for my foundation mold...gearing up for a nice winter project.

    Sounds interesting. What drives you to want to make your own?

    >My question is, is there any risk of beeswax carrying diseases like foulbrood or anything?

    Yes there is. Although the research I've read on it says it low. The only way to kill all the AFB spores is to get it really hot (I don't remember the temp off the top of my head) without catching fire or burning it and the only real way to do that is with a steam system like Walter Kelly sells.

    >I believe Dadant sells bricks of it, probably mingled from different hives from all over. Does the heating/melting/filtering process kill any and all nasty dangerous stuff?

    The stuff from Dadant is processed with the steam and should be safe as far as spores.

    >How about wax sold by smaller apiaries?
    I know some wax is sold with the assumption that people are just going to use it for candle making or other crafts, rather than in the hive with bees, so thought I'd ask if there's anything I need to be aware of when purchasing it for foundation use.

    Well, there's AFB and then theres chemicals that get concentrated in the wax, like fluvinate and cumaphos and insecticides that the bees pick up here and there.

    >I have some wax no pesticides in it I don't use any strips in my hives. I treat naturaly but I get little more money for it. I have sold Michiel Bush some wax in the past by the lb.How much you looking for and do you make it into foundation and like to trade some?

    I have used Don's wax for wax coating my PermaComb because I wanted some without the Apistan and Checkmite residues.

    In theory, the white wax from Dadant is probably mostly cappings and shouldn't have MUCH residue. The darker is probably from old brood comb and would most likely have more concentration of any residues.

    In all cases, I think it's the shipping that really gets you with wax. It's heavy.

  4. #4

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    Hi all, thanks for the replies.
    Re the amount of wax and the foundation mold, for the mold I'm using the description and instructions in John Vivian's book "Keeping Bees". I've just got to buy enough wax to make the foundation sheets for next year, and after that I'll (hopefully) have more than enough of my own wax to use. I currently have the plastic foundation and extractors are too expensive, too complicated to make, gravity draining takes forever and a year, and all things considered I think that a honey press and pure wax foundation self-sufficiency is the way for me to go. Also I just enjoy projects that give me a good excuse to fire up the woodstove in the shed in the middle of winter. I'm in Alaska, so that sort of limits my access to bartering and beekeeping supplies.
    Anyway, thanks again for the help and wisdom.

  5. #5
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    I just cut a bevel on the top bar and I don't use foundation. Or make blank sheets and cut starter strips 3/4" wide and put them in the top bar and still don't use foundation.

    I used to use Duragilt but then I started trying the 4.9mm foundation, but it's too expensive and I wanted to see what the bees would build on their own. Since I think 5.4mm foundation is the root of the varroa problem, I've given up on foundation. Also you have the contamination issues. If you don't use it, then it's not contaminated.

    I think it's way too much work to make foundation when the bees will happily build comb without it.

  6. #6
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    I do like MB. I built my frames from scraps from building sites. I found some cells in the brood nest today as small as 4.5mm being used for brood. So my hives are getting to small cell and smaller. It is easy to just cut the comb out and replace the frames in the hive. I brushed the bees off cut the comb out returned the frame and covered the bucket. These frame have been redrawn and are being used by other hives for winter stores as of today. worked nice with only 2 hives to harvest from. I did extract 8 of these frames in a 4 frame extractor(at the other beekeeper house as a test). I flipped them 2 times as I was afraid to put much pressure on them. I do plan on making a foundation mold and making foundation to use between these foundationless frames to hopefully cut down on cross combing. That is the only draw back I have with these is you need to place them between drawn comb the first time. After you cut the comb out there is enough comb left on the top to keep them straight.

  7. #7
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    I do try to put at least ONE drawn comb in a super, usually that I stole from the box below. Otherwise they may crosscomb. Two is nicer. Every other frame as drawn comb is really nice, but I hardly ever do it. It's not hard to do though. Just steal half the frames from a full box and put empty ones between the remaing ones and then empty ones in a new box between the ones you pulled out.


  8. #8
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    >I just cut a bevel on the top bar and I don't use foundation. Or make blank sheets and cut starter strips 3/4" wide and put them in the top bar and still don't use foundation.

    Tell me a little more about this. I only hive one hive, new this year. I currently use a plastic foundation and would like to regress to small cell also would like to add atleast two more small cell hives next year. thanks in advance.


  9. #9
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    You can find drawings of this kind of frame in LL Lanstroth's Hive and the Honey-Bee. Here are pictures of a similar frame except he also puts a bevel on the bottom bar:
    http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/frameinstructions.htm

  10. #10
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    Michael help me understand this correctly. The bevel makes a point in the center of the frame (lenght wise). is it open on both sides, like foundation? do the girls just connecti the comb to the bottem bar when there is no bevel on th bottem?

  11. #11
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    The bevel is a "V" that is the shape of the cross section of the bottom bar. It makes an upside down peak in the center. Lanstroth calls it a "comb guide". It works best to have at least one fully drawn comb in the box to give them a starting point. It is oepn all the way through. There is no sheet of anything, no foundation. Just an open frame with a "V" shaped top bar. If you put a frame with no bevel between two drawn comb it will work just as well, but if you put a whole box of frames with no bevels in a box and nothing to get them started the bees will make a mess of crosscombs.

    Of course sometimes bees do that no matter what you do, even with wax foundation.

  12. #12
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    >do the girls just connecti the comb to the bottem bar when there is no bevel on th bottem?

    Actually I've used the bevel on the bottom and not used it. Sometimes they attach it either way. Sometimes they don't and leave a beespace between the bottom of the comb and the bottom bar. Usually it's either open all the way across or they connect it most of the way across.

  13. #13
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    I did make one with a V bottom bar. It was to much work. They do for the most part attach the bottom of the comb to the frame.You do get more wax this way. I may try the 2 empties between the fully drawn one next spring.

  14. #14
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    What angle do you make the "V" on the bottom of the top bar? It would be tempting to make it quite sharp but another possibility would be to use the natural angle that the comb is drawn out to.

  15. #15
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    I have tried the "natural angle" that the comb is (12 to 15 degrees) and it doesn't work nearly as well as steeper. Rev. LL Langstroth recommended 45 degrees on each side (a 90 facing straight down). This is also what Charles Martin Simon is using. It's also what I'm using. Steeper might work better, but also cuts into the amount of brood comb they can build and takes more wood.

  16. #16
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    I tried a more pointed one after having the first problem of cross comb. It did not help(I just went as far as my tables saw would gothink about 60) and if anything had less attatchment. So I set the saw on 45% where it leaves about 16th of an inch wide point(I do have it wrote down at the shop). A sharp point does not take much wax when rubbing it on at just the tip and one of the reason the comb will start slightly off center. It would sometimes go from side to side(just saying a small amount but these curves cause some larger cells). Leaving the point wider has helped get straighter drawing and better attachment.

  17. #17
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    If you don't use foundation, how does this work when it comes to extracting? I would think the naturally drawn and unsupported foundation would be much more likely to blow out during extraction? cj

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    >If you don't use foundation, how does this work when it comes to extracting? I would think the naturally drawn and unsupported foundation would be much more likely to blow out during extraction? cj

    Certainly wire helps support comb, but foudnation doesn't support it, in fact I'd guess the mid rib ends up thinner with foundation.

    The main secret to extracting (foundationless or otherwise) without blowing out comb is to make sure it's not that new soft comb, but has aged a few weeks before you try to extract. Comb gets much less pliable after a few weeks. Also make sure it's attached on at least three sides. If in doubt you can put rubber bands on the frames to hold the comb in better. And don't get carried away with speed until it's mostly empty. In a radial, just work your way up slowly. In a tangental, make sure you extract about half of one side at slow speed, all of the other side at a pretty slow speed and the rest you can usually go fairly fast.

    I have not tried extractig foundationless deeps, but I do mediums. I have heard of people doing deeps.

  19. #19
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    I've been experimenting with foundationless frames this year.

    My experience is like that stated above. If you put them between fully drawn frames they do a pretty good job of drawing them out. I get a lot of drone comb though. I just mercilessly cut it out figuring I'm helping with varroa anyway, and then I stick the frame back in.

    I've had no trouble extracting the foundationless frames, but I am wiring mine, so the wires give it a lot more strength.

    The other thing I have noticed is that the frames (once extracted) are a lot lighter than frames with foundation in them, so if you are using a radial extractor and mixing foundationless with older combs that have plastic foundation, it tends to be out of balance. The goal for me is to get drawn honey supers from no foundation at all, then they'll all be the same weight and balance nicely.
    Troy

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