How much Beeswax from Comb?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,314

    Default How much Beeswax from Comb?

    I did a cut out the other day and had a 5 gallon bucket about 2/3 full with comb. And this was crushed down a bit too, not just loosely stacked in there. I figured there was at least 5 lbs in the bucket and even though there was some larvae and cocoons in there to - I figured there had to be about 3 lbs of wax.

    I did not have room in the freezer, so I just went ahead and tried to melt it down.

    I brought some water to a boil and slowly added the comb. I have a course strainer and scooped off the larvae and cocoons into another bucket and left the water and wax behind.

    I know this process is not terribly efficient, but I fugured if I got even half of the wax and half was wasted - I'd still get 1.5 to maybe 2 lbs of wax.

    After the water cooled there was almost no wax left in there. Just a ring around the pot - not even a thin layer over the water. Obviously the wax is all tied up with the cocoons etc in the other bucket, but how much is really there?

    I know of the method to tie it all in a weighted bag and drop in boiling water, but it just seems like there can't be much there.

    What kind of return on investment are others seeing when processing wax. If you had a 5 gallon bucket 2/3 full of comb - how much wax would you expect to get out of it?

    Do you usually save up a large quantity of wax before processing?

    How many combs does it take to get a pound of nice filtered wax?
    Troy

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    StateWide, Florida, USA
    Posts
    180

    Default

    Troy,

    I'm not sure about the volume ratio, but I get about 1 pound wax out from ~25-30 pounds of comb(including brood and some honey). The 5 gallon paint strainer bag method works great. I usually run it twice and most of the wax comes through the strainer..no dipping brood ever !!

    btw, did you ever get my instant message? I wanted to get some of those candles your daughter made. maybe I could trade some wax in to you as credit
    Richard Martyniak, M.S. Entomologist - http://AllFloridaBeeRemoval.com

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,314

    Default

    That kind of fits with what I saw then. If you get 1 lb of good wax from 25-30 lbs of comb, then I think I did pretty well getting a measurable amount from 8 or 10 lbs of brood comb.

    I think I got about 8 oz or so. I'll weigh it tomorrow.
    Troy

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Elmira, OR
    Posts
    2,136

    Default

    First, I have never checked exactly how much wax I can get out of a certain amount of old comb. However, I can say that I never had any luck getting wax out of old comb using boiling water. I had kind of given up on old comb and just threw it on the burning pile until one day I put some in my new (at that time) solar melter.

    I was very surprised how much nice wax I got. It was a little dark, but nice and clean. I haven't used boiling water to separate wax since. If you still have the remains of what you boiled, put them in a solar melter if you have one, or know someone that does. I would like to know how much more you get out.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,669

    Default

    I always try to sort the cocooned brood comb from the rest. The cocoons often soak up wax and don't give off ANY.

    Then take the brood comb and put it in a bag of some sort with a rock to hold it on the bottom of the pot. This allows the wax to get boiled out of the cocoons.

    Do the white wax separately.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Geneva,Florida, Seminole USA
    Posts
    290

    Default

    Troy, A solar wax melter will get a lot of wax out of those old combs. Its a slow process, but I wish I had all of that old comb back I've burned over the years.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,085

    Default

    I use a solar wax melter. Last year, a beek gave me a bunch of old combs that he'd stored in his garage for years. You can guess what the moths did to them. I tossed them into the solar melter and I fashioned a cheesecloth cover over the pan that catches the wax. I ended up with beautiful wax. A little dark, but very clean.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Campbell County, Va
    Posts
    507

    Default

    I know this is an old post, but time and technology benefit us at times. I recently got a SAF Natura Electric Wax Extractor. It works great melting wax, frames with was moth damage, cappings, comb, and especially old brood comb. It super saturates the comb and allows all the wax to release and drain off.
    Beekeeping is like playing chess with someone that is much better at it than you are..always protect your queen🐝

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
    Posts
    936

    Default Re: How much Beeswax from Comb?

    i have the maxant wax melter and it works but man its a time consuming thing and i find i have to process the wax more than once to get it nice and clean.
    My wife wants the wax for candles but im tempted to get a simple harmony farms uncapper and just buy blocks of wax for her to make her candles with.

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