Wax vs Cocoons
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Thread: Wax vs Cocoons

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Caldwell TX USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Wax vs Cocoons

    You'll get a chuckle out of this. I had a bunch of dark cutout comb from old hives. I've melted wax before in my solar cooker but decided to melt this in a double boiler.

    Waited a while, and more, and more, and more. All the cocoons came apart but no wax ever 'melted'. Rather, I think the cocoons were absorbing the wax as it melted!

    So i never got any wax out of it. Is it wise to not include cocooned brood comb when melting wax? Or is there a way to 'press' the wax out of the cocoons?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: Wax vs Cocoons

    Just a solar melter won't get the job done on brood combs.

    I melt up the old combs in a barrel of water over a fire. Then press all that out. What becomes of 3 barrels of old combs is about 75 lbs of golden colored beeswax. I blend that back in when melting up my cappers. It makes them smell and look better. 75 lbs for 6 hours of hot work, really not the greatest pay check.


    Would rather melt down barrels of slum. I avg. 75-80lb of beeswax from a barrel of slum and can do 2 barrels in that same 6 hours. $100 an hour, now that is a nice wage.

    I no longer do slum rendering for hire. But most beekeepers find barrels of slum in there shops a waste of space. Which then ends up on my driveway. 3-4 days a year I find the time to render out mine and other barrels of slum that show up. Well worth my time.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Weston, ME
    Posts
    978

    Default Re: Wax vs Cocoons

    I have used a solar melter and also boiling water.
    In both cases cocoons are not too big a problem.
    In a solar melter the wax can be drained away leaving the junk behind.
    In boiling water you can use methods like putting everything in a cloth back and holding it at the bottom - the wax melts out and floats to the surface.

    [added] posted at the same time as THH...
    I will admit I didn't pay attention to how much less (if any) I got using the solar melter so THH (who makes his living off bees) would know better.
    Last edited by MikeJ; 10-17-2017 at 08:54 PM. Reason: too many H's
    - - Michael Joel
    1 John 3:3-4, Matthew 5:19, Matthew 5:18, James 2:17-20, 1 John 5:2-3

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Caldwell TX USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Wax vs Cocoons

    THH,

    Thanks for the reply. A couple of questions.
    1. What temp do you get the brood comb up to before pressing?
    2. What do you use or recommend for pressing? I'm small scale, not doing more than 10-30 lbs at a time.
    3. Or simply not worth my time with small scale? Just give it to someone larger scale?

    Thanks

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    52,395

    Default Re: Wax vs Cocoons

    >Rather, I think the cocoons were absorbing the wax as it melted!

    Exactly.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,165

    Default Re: Wax vs Cocoons

    I have a monster pile of slum that I usually just burn, and burn it does! Maybe this winter I'll get motivated to boil the wax out, the solar wax melter just doesn't cut it too well for getting what little wax is in that old comb out of that old comb.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
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