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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Here is what our provincial apiculturist emailed back...most interesting:

    Hi Janet,



    Interesting question, and I will elucidate.



    Wax production is dependent on a number of factors that include the overall needs of the colony, the condition and age of the worker bees, the time of year, the availability of carbohydrate sources, and the size of the colony. What this means is that wax production is not merely a singular ‘by-choice’ event but a dynamic process involving a range of factors.



    When a swarm has established itself, or when a packaged colony has been hived onto foundation, there is a strong collective colony impulse of wax production in order to provide comb for bee brood development. The ability of bees to produce wax, individually and collectively is determined by food availability. This is tough for a newly established swarm as wax production is correlated to the amount of nectar brought in by the bees, and its availability may vary. In case of a hived colony, the beekeeper can expedite the process by feeding the bees sugar syrup. It has been estimated that the production of 1 kg of wax requires about 5 – 6 kg of sugar syrup. In the wild, it will take substantially more than 5-6 kg of nectar for each kg of wax because of nectar’s lower sugar concentration (about 20% by volume, versus sugar syrup’s 50% or higher).



    The ability of an individual bee to produce wax is not only related to food availability but also its age. While adult worker bees can produce wax throughout their adult life, young to ‘middle-aged’ worker bees are more efficient in wax secretion. The worker bee’s “decision” to produce wax is largely governed by the pheromones circulating throughout the colony. But the circulation of these pheromones change over the season as well. While worker bees may be strongly induced to secrete wax in the spring and summer, the incentive declines rapidly in the fall.



    I hope this information has given a better idea about wax production.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,544

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by brushwoodnursery View Post
    ...I'm just taking a large serving spoon and scraping down most of the way for crush and strain.
    I am using my wife's best kitchen spatula to scrape honey from the frames. Before I was using plaster spatula. I think straight edge may be better to scrape parallel to the base. I am in SoCal. I harvest honey all year around but in small quantities, so crush-strain is perfect for this. I normally take every other frame from the top super, usually 4. My yield as following: 4 foundationless frames (medium) -> 5 kg of pure honey; ~1 kg honey in the wax leftovers; 0.2 (?) kg purified wax. I mix honey-wax with water, filter out wax and use liquid for mead - 1 gal. Sergey

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Very interesting thread! As a new beek I am also looking at equipment choices. I currently have 1 hive (10 Lang.), am building a 48" TBH (may do a second), h/w is being delivered for my second 10 frame Lang. I just assembled 30 foundationless frames last night (Walter Kelley), so very interested in crush & strain as radial is very $$ intensive. I will probably never go over 5 hives officially so I do not want to get in trouble (Texas must register if you have 6 or more hives and I am sure someone would find a rule violation since I am in the city limits & HOA BS).
    Thanks again for all of the fantastic data!
    Mead is nice too!
    Last edited by mmmooretx; 07-27-2012 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Mead
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,544

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post
    ... It has been estimated that the production of 1 kg of wax requires about 5 – 6 kg of sugar syrup. In the wild, it will take substantially more than 5-6 kg of nectar for each kg of wax because of nectar’s lower sugar concentration (about 20% by volume, versus sugar syrup’s 50% or higher).
    Janet, many thanks! Yes,it was my main concern - this 1-to-5 wax-honey ratio is circulating between beekeepers as a dogma. I wish to see the source of such conclusion. It also did not answer if bees need to consume additional honey to produce wax? For instance, if I am building the house, I personally do not consume substantially more food just because I am building a house... but I would use additional energy (fuel etc) to deliver construction materials, using power tools etc. Sergey

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    I think the honey to wax calculation is simply based on the calorie content of honey vs. that of wax. I have never read a lucid discussion of whether taking wax impairs the honey harvest, or by how much. It makes sense to spare the bees the task of comb building IF it means they will turn all their energies to storing honey instead, but if that comes at the expense of bee health, then most backyard beekeepers would rather get less honey and more wax.

    I hope some intrepid Ph.D student is hard at work on elucidating this question!

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