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How Do I Melt My Cappings?

2097 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  carbide
Finally, I’m excited about something rather than being here to address a problem! (Have to love us Newbee’s).

I have fed 45 frames of older honey to my 4 hives (hung it on racks in the frames 20 ft from the hives) and the girls have sucked it down! Don’t know where they are putting it (they are barely getting into the honey supers on 2 of the hives), they they have eaten it nonetheless!


I have 2 full 1 qt bottles of capping that the girls chewed off these old frames of capped honey. Maybe it isn’t much or a waste of time…. But I was wondering, what is the best way to melt these capping down so I wind up with fairly clean wax? Most of it is white now, but some still may have traces of honey on it. How do I get rid of the honey so my wax is clean?


Bob D
Brentwood, NH
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Maybe I'm working too hard, but I put my cappings and some water in the bottom of my crock pot--an old one; not the one I use to make beef stew!--and let it cook til the wax melts. I let it cool & harden, then melt the wax down again without any water (I watch it carefully so it won't burn, even though it is a "slow cooker.") As soon as it's all melted, I pour it through one of those paint strainers into a waxed milk or o.j. carton. Then when it cools, I peel off the carton and I have a really pretty block of clean wax.
Sometimes I let the bees clean up the extra honey in the cappings. If there isn't much, sometimes I just put them in a bucket or warm water of some sort just to get the honey out. (the crockpot idea does work) Then I put it in some nylon strainer cloth and set it in the solar melter. The cloth filters the wax and the sun melts it
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>I have 2 full 1 qt bottles of capping...

A book I read recently recommended to bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add wax a glob at a time. The honey will go into solution in to the water and the wax will float to the top. When melted, skim off any skum on the top, then skim off the clean wax with a ladle. I plan to try melting about 25 lbs this way this weekend.

My mother used to just let the wax cool into a big round chunk then knock it out of the pan. (It shrinks a bit when cooling) If the wax is not clean cappings, the bottom may be slumgum, but that can be scraped or cut off while the wax is still warm.

However, two quarts may not be enough to work with easily. Remember to always heat wax over water, since it is highly flammable when hot and can burst into violent flame if heated directly with a flame or too much electric heat.

I also spread out wax sticky with honey on a cookie sheet and put it outside for the bees. They loved it, removed the honey, and chewed most of the wax into dry powder. I was told that bees will not "gather" wax and take it to the hive, but it sure looked to me like they carried some of it off. I may design an experiment to test.

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I have a solar melter and use burlap to strain it, the 'catch' pan has about 1/2in of water in it, then (when cooled) I scrape the debris off the underside and remelt it in a double boiler and pour it into small muffin pans (acquired from Goodwill) most of it is given away some sold and the remainder is used for hand cream (using the recipe in 'Beekeeping For Dummies' just modified it a bit and only use a 5:1 olive oil to wax.
The people that get it love it. :D A little goes a loooonnnngggg way. ;)

[ June 29, 2006, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: SilverFox ]
For small amounts of wax I just take a pan with a little water in the bottom and a piece of veil material over the top and set it into an empty deep with a piece of clear glass on the top of the deep and let the sun melt it. For large amounts I use a carol heater and a large pan of water inside of that I melt the wax in another pan and strain it thru veil material and pour it into molds to store. It should be noted that care is to be taken when melting wax with an open flame pans should be large and watched...Rick
JKJ says,
I was told that bees will not "gather" wax and take it to the hive, but it sure looked to me like they carried some of it off. I may design an experiment to test.
I have a chunk of capping beeswax laying on my porch. The bees have been chewing on it for the last week or so. Some of them don't seem to do anything with it other than to chew on it. Some of them fill up their pollen baskets with little bits of it and take it back to the hive.

We've had a discussion or two on this topic here on the forum and there are a number of us who have seen our bees actually chew up wax that was laying around and take it back to the hive. Those who have not seen this happening probably will someday, and they will know that their eyes weren't playing tricks on them.

If you've ever placed frames with foundation into a super on top of your hive during a weak flow you've probably observed holes eaten into the foundation the next time that you examined your hive. I personally don't believe that the bees just chew the holes into the foundation to have something to do. I believe that the bees use the chewed off wax either to cap brood cells or finished honey. I also believe that the wax that the bees carry into the hives is used in a like manner. Since the bees don't appear to comandeer that much wax from external sources I don't believe that they actually use this wax for building comb itself. My opinion only.
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