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I have done several cut outs to get the bees I have (21 hives all from feral survivor stock). I have cut them out of old barns and trees. In the barns I leave at least half the hive behind and at least 3/4 of their honey to continue surviving. When I do the cut outs I find whole stud bays full of old brood and pollen comb that the bees are not even living in any more. I take this excess comb to melt down and give the bees more space to build new comb.

I have melted this wax down and plan to make blank sheets with no cell size imprinted on them to put in frames for my bees to build out.

What does melting down the wax remove?
 

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Well, melting and straining wax will remove debris that is large enough to be caught by whatever strainer/filter you might be using. This might include bee body parts, cocoons, vegetable matter, etc.

But "chemicals" i.e. pesticides applied either by the beekeeper, or to crops/plants that were collected by the bees along with the pollen/nectar are not likely to be removed by melting and filtering wax.


To one degree or another the world's commercial wax supply is contaminated, and that isn't going away. This issue includes commercially produced wax foundation. See this paper:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0009754
 

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The only thing that it won't have in it is the whole category of beekeeper-applied chemicals (some of which are quite foul, perhaps no longer approved). But it will still have any environmental pollution and what the former bees themselves brought into the hive while foraging.

Tests of combs show that the highest percentage of exogenous chemicals are those deliberately added by beekeepers, followed by stuff that blew in or was picked up.

And of course it will have spores of any episodes of foul brood, even long-ago episodes of it. I have hundreds of pounds of comb from cut-outs done here on my farm when the bees completely disappeared one winter after two decades of occupation. I am uncertain whether I will ever use it for the bees, because I don't know, for sure, what caused the disappearance. The bees that I have now were new swarms to the cavities in 2013, and are in fine health. In theory they were certainly exposed to whatever was in that wax; we even moved some of the old combs with them and they are still in my hives.

Enj.
 

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The reason a lot of folks go foundationless is that melting wax and making new foundation sheets out of old wax does not remove the majority of the chemicals that were originally in the comb. The chemicals just continue to accumulate so you end up with the prior hives' chemicals (applied and collected by the bees) and your bees will then begin adding more to the stew.
 
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