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  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default How is wax for foundation processed?

    How is the wax/foundation we purchase purified and filtered to get rid of contaminants, AFB, pesticides, etc. that would harm bees? Any insights?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    This could get ugly.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    While I cannot say for sure, and I have no data to back up what I am going to say, SO, I will just go ahead and say it, , they don't. They remove some, but not all contaminants.

    But, in defence of wax/foundation companies, I have never heard of a company that claimed that "their" foundation is "Pure".

    And yes, jmgi, we had a round about what is pure. Don't need that one again.

    cchoganjr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    One study that you can read about this issue is here:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0009754
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    And much like CCH Jr...I'm guessing but....my best guess is that AFB spores are killed during the wax melting process. I'm thinking that the contaminants are the main issue.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    AFB spores get encapsulated in the wax, which renders them harmless, similar to hot wax dipping... a lot of companies claim to use cappings wax, which is in the hive less time and soaks up fewer contaminents. Foundationless has its own problems, but I like it because it's cheaper =)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Wax chunks are often graded for color and purity, melted separately, filtered, bleached, and can have additives that neutralize some known contaminants. Unfortunately, fine particle settling doesn't happen, as wax held above melting temperature for over a certain length of time gets scorched near the heat source. Fortunately, foundation wax does not require cappings-grade wax - old, yellow to brown wax is OK. The bleaching takes care of a lot of the trouble.

    I strongly recommend that beekeepers make a HUGE priority of identifying AFB and NOT sending in that wax for rendering! Burn it, while treating the bees with Tylan, other AFB treatment, or burning the entire hive. (In England, they have a beekeeping certificate system, requiring beekeepers to learn to identify AFB, EFB, and many of the other diseases of bees.)

    I did a cut-out of a colony of bees in a 100-year-old barn, and discovered an abandoned comb that had had AFB. I explained the situation to the owner, contacted the fire chief, and the county Agricultural Commissioner. The Commissioner wanted it covered with plastic until the burn was to take place. This I did promptly. The fire fighters sprayed flame retarding gel over the old wood, I removed the plastic, cut out the wax (burned later in a fireplace) and scorched the area with a propane torch while the firefighters were ready with the hoses. When I finished scorching, they quenched the burnt area with water and checked it with an infrared camera to see the temperature. The owner, the fire chief, and the Ag Commissioner were all very happy with the operation.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 01-14-2013 at 05:23 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Rader Sidetrack - thank you for the PLOS article! If we combine this knowledge with Randy Oliver's explanation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on his website, www.scientificbeekeeping.com, we can limit the use of severe chemicals.

    From the article you so kindly shared, we see that coumaphos, fluvalinate, pyrethrins, carbaryl, and several other miticides and pesticides stay in wax a long time, and it would be good to NOT RENDER FOUNDATION from wax we know we have treated. Mark all treated combs, record all activities, and even put them in separate solar wax melters and/or double boilers. Rotate out contaminated wax combs - this wax could be used for candles. Keep clean wax separate, using it for cosmetics, lip balm, medical uses, honey-in-the-comb foundation (known as thin surplus), and foundation for our bees to live in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Fortunately, foundation wax does not require cappings-grade wax - old, yellow to brown wax is OK. The bleaching takes care of a lot of the trouble..
    Could you elaborate on this. Isn't the overwhelming majority of wax, that is sold to the companies that make foundation, from cappings. They pay more partly because they don't have to bleach as much, and can use "as is" rather than mixing batches (old dark comb) in with cappings wax to get the right color.

    Not rendering foundation from treated wax would sure help if people did it, but, I honestly don't see that happening. Even that, and everyone going treatment free, still would not eliminate all contaminates in wax, but, it would help.

    Need to get everyone doing their part, but, I can see commercial keepers, who are already operating close to the margin, saying that trying to keep combs marked and segregated would just not be feasible, extremely time consuming.

    cchoganjr
    Last edited by Cleo C. Hogan Jr; 01-14-2013 at 06:46 PM.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2003
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    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
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    3,540

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    I have seen some of the wax that has been taken in on exchange for foundation and it aint a purdy site
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  11. #11
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    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    I'm speaking from the perspective of having my own wax press and rolling it myself, but then, I like honey-in-the-comb, and I like it clean. My commercial bees get the lower grade wax, my comb and queen rearing bees get the clean stuff. Ugly wax gets made into candles, Miller hive feeders, linseed oil dipping boxes, etc. Diseased wax gets burned in a camp fire.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,780

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    I have seen some of the wax that has been taken in on exchange for foundation and it aint a purdy site

    I can confirm this. I traded my "treatment free" wax in on new foundation and added my several hundred pounds of bright wax to a pile of dark rendered comb wax. oh well.


    Crazy Roland

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
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    460

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Here is a link to how FBM does it on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lU3...e_gdata_player

    Here is part 1 of 4 on how he cleans and prepares the wax for the operation above.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNcr...e_gdata_player
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Thank you, Mike! Fat Bee Man sure has a great thing going, and is really cool about putting videos on YouTube.

    Actually, I like dark yellow wax from dark brown comb for foundation. I use it in my swarm traps. It sure works to hold bee swarms in the box. My other bees don't care what color the foundation is. My main fuss is getting enough white wax for honey-in-the-comb. I will buy it if I have to.

    I cut the good parts out of moth-eaten, black comb and put them into the solar wax melter, clear it up a bit in the double boiler (the hard matter settles to the bottom), add bleach, pour it through the gauze filter into the dip tank. When there is enough wax, I make a run of foundation.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 01-16-2013 at 10:21 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Carbondale, IL
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    35

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    This could get ugly.
    Youbetcha!
    Where are we and what's with this hand basket?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carbondale, IL
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    35

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Can anyone tell me how they bleach wax? It may be great for candles.
    Thanks!
    Hamp
    Where are we and what's with this hand basket?

  17. #17
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    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    There are several methods, natural and not-so-natural. The Green-power folks will want to hear about pouring the beeswax into sheets no more than 1/4" thick and leaving it out in the sun for a week or so, then re-melting all over again.

    There is also hydrogen peroxide, which is quick. Don't use too much of it, and be patient, holding the wax right at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Some guys hold it and let it settle for several days to get really white wax, so it depends on your purpose. After peroxide treatment, I re-filter it with a multi-stage filter system. #1 is metal window screen, #2 is a commercial kitchen grease filter, #3 is a T-shirt, #4 is a micron filter bag with activated carbon and Fuller's earth. This turns black wax into wax that sells - pale yellow, getting on toward whitish. High grade wax comes clear white. There is more complex chemical magic to neutralize a lot of the peroxide, but it starts to get expensive, so go to sunlight (or high-powered sunlight lamps to speed up the sun bleaching) if you don't want traces of leftover H2O2.

    Oh, and DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH. It could be done and neutralized, but effort ain't worth it.

    The main points to remember are to separate out your brightest wax, control your heat, and filter in stages with slight pressure, and use the right grade for the right purpose. Bees love dark wax, so brood foundation does not need all that effort. Honey-in-the-comb requires light, thin foundation that seems to sell best with the slightest yellow cast - Eucalyptus, Sage and Clover honeys are best out here. There is a health-freak market for local, wildflower honey-in-the-comb, but I have to explain why it is darker, and they usually buy it.

    The slumgum and clogged filters are great for starting campfires.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 02-21-2013 at 10:52 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Carbondale, IL
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    35

    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Thanks Kilocharlie!
    I've seen some of the stuff folks (including myself) trade back to Kelley's and have always wondered how they lightened it up for foundation.
    Where are we and what's with this hand basket?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: How is wax for foundation processed?

    Yeah, the light stuff sells better - everyone seems to think dark is bad - so it amounts to a marketing ploy. HAHAHA! Little do they know how much better the brown stuff is! Like I said, save the effort, classify your wax, and use the dark brown especially for foundation on just-caught swarms and swarm traps! Way better holding power. I LOVE ugly wax! White wax is for lipstick, pale yellow/mostly-white wax is for Honey-in-the-comb, etc.

    If I could devise a way to melt the moth-eaten brown stuff straight from the solar melter into foundation in only one melt, now THAT would be helpful!

    Oh, and OOPS! - I see that I accidentally reversed above - #2 should be the T-shirt and #3 should be the commercial (restaurant supply house) kitchen grease filter.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 02-23-2013 at 11:22 PM.

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