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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My hive died, it was robbed out last year. I cut all wax out & boiled it. I find it has a unpleasant smell, not honey & flowers but more like a stinky chicken shed. It always was smeling this way as a starter Nuc. I thought nothing of it because where I bought it the seller had chickens everywhere & a large chicken shed. My concern is should I use it in this years hive or not. Is it from the cocoons & boiling? Could anyone address this issue Please. Mark
 

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I believe EFB also has an "off" smell. Not what I would describe as chicken coop, but not the smell of a normal hive which I can only describe in food terms: Savory honey and flower smell. The type of scent that makes you want to take another sniff. J
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Beeswax is supposed to have a clean pleasant scent. My wife loves the smell. If your wax is stinky, I would pitch it. Why take chances?
 

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Pitching is a fine idea, but I'd have it tested, first. Because if the smell is from a disease, then your equipment may also be contaminated. EFB can be cleaned up in various ways. I'd burn equipment with a documented exposure to AFB. (You may be legally required to do so, anyway. Be thankful you don't have to euthanize the bees, as well.)

AFB spores in comb and on hive surfaces stay infectious for DECADES. Don't be foolish.

Send some off to Beltsville. Their service is free.
 

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Brood combs can have an unpleasant smell when melting down but after it has had the cocoons, sludge crap removed, allowed to cool and harden it should have no bad smell. At that point should have a sweet smell of fresh clean wax. But it will stink while melting it down. If it still stinks after I agree with tossing it.
 

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As a followup to vtbeeguy's post, last year I was late getting the feeding shims off and the bees had filled the space with drone comb and brood. While I was rendering the wax, drone brood included, it did not smell pleasant at all. Once done and filtered, it had the normal smell of clean wax.

Marksaratoga, thanks for the link. I am sure there are a lot of us, myself included, that have never smelled AFB and couldn't identify it by smell alone.
 

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I am a little bit concerned by the afb references to smelly wax. I lost a hive to hive beetles last year and didn't render the wax in a timely manner. It was pretty gross when I dumped it out of the container it was in. I probably should have boiled it down first but just tossed it in the solar melter. It rendered out fine but it still had the rotten brood odor in it. The wax is yellow and fairly clean but just smells funky. I have been coating foundation with it. I hope it is ok.
 

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I have no idea if this would work, but it is a though. Hopefully people that know more about AFB can chime in.

Could you look at a sample of wax under a microscope and tell if it has AFB in it? I know you can do this with nosema (if you know what to look for, I do not) but I do not know how big the AFB spores are.
 

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As a followup to vtbeeguy's post, last year I was late getting the feeding shims off and the bees had filled the space with drone comb and brood. While I was rendering the wax, drone brood included, it did not smell pleasant at all. Once done and filtered, it had the normal smell of clean wax.

Marksaratoga, thanks for the link. I am sure there are a lot of us, myself included, that have never smelled AFB and couldn't identify it by smell alone.
If you ever smell AFB you will never forget that smell.It has a smell of its own and the experience of seeing your hives burn will forever be etched in your mind.If you ever get it do yourself and everyone else a big favor and get rid of it.Dont wait on testing or sending off samples.A few bees robbing will spread it everywhere.Dont even try treating after you get it because its useless and you lose.Cut your losses and start over.
 

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I am a little bit concerned by the afb references to smelly wax. I lost a hive to hive beetles last year and didn't render the wax in a timely manner. It was pretty gross when I dumped it out of the container it was in. I probably should have boiled it down first but just tossed it in the solar melter. It rendered out fine but it still had the rotten brood odor in it. The wax is yellow and fairly clean but just smells funky. I have been coating foundation with it. I hope it is ok.
Hi westtnbeekeeper - the original poster said "he'd" had that smell all along, it wasn't just funky wax - " It always was smeling this way as a starter Nuc." That's why I thought AFB. I'm pretty sure the hive you lost would have had that strong smell too if infected. As Nancy says above it's well worth sending a small sample to Beltsville if you have anything left. This is what they need, assuming you don't have 100 dead bees from that hive -

••A comb sample should be at least 2 x 2 inches and contain as much of the dead or discolored brood as possible. NO HONEY SHOULD BE PRESENT IN THE SAMPLE.

••The comb can be sent in a paper bag or loosely wrapped in a paper towel, newspaper, etc. and sent in a heavy cardboard box. AVOID wrappings such as plastic, aluminum foil, waxed paper, tin, glass, etc. because they promote decomposition and the growth of mold.

••If a comb cannot be sent, the probe used to examine a diseased larva in the cell may contain enough material for tests. The probe can be wrapped in paper and sent to the laboratory in an envelope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I appreciate all the input from everyone on this. It seems clear to me it is not worth the chance so I will use this as a fire starter in my steel stove. As for this year I will be starting over again all new equipment with new foundation. I am a newbee but I will not take any chances. Thanks To All.
 
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