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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default What to do about Black wax?

    Like I said in another post, I just got a new 4 box hive. The entire thing is filled with black wax. Half has foundation and half doesn't so it is all over the place also. What do you think the best way to get rid of it is? Is the honey they are storing in it even safe to eat? Should I just start taking frames out and replacing them with clean foundation(I have no comb yet)?
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    I assume you mean black from cocoons? If so, it should be safe for them, unless there's old disease microbes from the years of brood,but still, it shouldn't be that bad.


    Nathan
    Good enough is perfect - Joel Salatin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    I'd just can it....that stuff can STINK!!! The honey's probably perfectly safe to eat, but might have picked up foul odors/flavors from the brood casings (last time I attempted to melt down black brood comb it ended up smelling like a tom cat had sprayed it), so I'd maybe let the bees eat it, but I'll pass on eating any of it myself.
    As far as getting them building straight comb again, I'd prob. pull 5-6 frames out of the middle, put a frame of foundation in the two outermost openings, then foundationless (WITH comb guides) in between, something like: OOFEEEEFOO (O=old F=foundation E=empty foundationless). That said, I personally prefer foundationless, if you prefer foundation then just replace the "E"s with "F"s and you should be fine. BTW, when removing the old combs, be sure you get the bees put back in the box before tossing them, so you don't accidentally toss the queen!

    I think I'd start by replacing the middle frames in boxes from the bottom...and when it comes time to do frame replacing in the honey supers you can bring up frames that were drawn in the brood box, but have only had eggs lain in them once (i.e. move them into the honey super as soon as the first round of brood gets mostly capped, but before any emerge). That way they'll still be very light brown & won't have much smell to them yet, but they will have a little extra strength to them, and it works better getting the bees to build comb in or below the brood chamber, as opposed to overhead in a honey super.


    ...just my $0.02; hope it helps


    P.S. Those old black combs will work well for baiting swarm traps with...might save a couple for that purpose, if you're interested in catching swarms

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    I throw em in my solar wax melter. You will be surprised how the wax comes out nice and yellow even from those really old frames. Makes great candles for home!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    Keth "I throw em in my solar wax melter. You will be surprised how the wax comes out nice and yellow even from those really old frames. "

    Great, this is one thing I was wondering about. I thought I might just have to toss the wax or use it like Rob said in my bait box.

    Sammy, I'm not sure what they are stained with or just how old they are. They are black from corner to corner. I just got them from a guy that does cutouts as a job and doesn't maintain his hives very well. Here is a pic.

    black wax.jpg
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,993

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    That comb does look like it may origionally be from a cutout although impossible to say for sure. But be aware, any comb that's been in the middle of a healthy broodnest for a year is going to be pretty black. No point getting too fussy!

    People with Warre hives, if they are running them in the recommended way, eat ONLY honey from black combs.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    Like oldtimer said brood combs will get black in just a cpl years. No need in throwing it all out. Put new foundation in a little at a time and use old frames to make splits.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Macoupin,Illinois,USA
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    Looks like oldtimer comb to me,and my oldtimer buddy pulls two frames at a time,one on each side,and swaps two more when others are almost drawn out,till all is good.......no pun intended oldtimer from new zealand

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: What to do about Black wax?

    The wax is the same color it was when the bees made it. It may have yellowed just a little bit. The black is the cocoons left from all the bees that were raised in those cells. Put it in a solar melter and you will be quite pleased.

    Old trick: If you want the wax even lighter. Make a separate solar wax melter with a very shallow angle on the bed for the wax. Take the wax out of the first melter and place it in the second. As it melts it is moving very slowly so it is exposed to the suns rays more. It will bleach it out lighter. Run it through a couple of times and you can change yellow to light yellow. More runs will make it white.
    Old Guy in Alabama

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