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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am doing something wrong here I have spent days trying to render the combs from my TBH that died due to starvation and I am getting almost no wax out of it. just some floating on surface of water and not a disk, I mean almost no wax. first time low and slow second time raging boil both rendered next to nothing. What the heck am
I am I doing wrong? or did the bees eat the wax? I am lost.
 

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I am doing something wrong here I have spent days trying to render the combs from my TBH that died due to starvation and I am getting almost no wax out of it. just some floating on surface of water and not a disk, I mean almost no wax. first time low and slow second time raging boil both rendered next to nothing. What the heck am
I am I doing wrong? or did the bees eat the wax? I am lost.
Pour wax/cappings/water through a alum. screen from a big box store. They apply pressure between two pieces of plywood and let wax drip in to your wax mold pan.
 

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very little wax is in brood comb. I did a melt down of tearout once and don't plan to do again. Not worth imo, unless you have alot of comb and a big cooker. Smells bad produces off-colored wax. Cappings are best, 2nd honey comb. That is worth the time, no caccoons to deal with, easy to clean, produces nice bright, good smelling wax
 

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After rendering the brood comb, and pouring it through a screen and smashing the excess wax from it, I then let it harden, scrape the crap off the bottom of the block, put it back into a pot, bring to boil and then pour through a cheese cloth. This pulls over 50% of the nasty from it that is left. Turns out pretty descent for me.
 

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Brood comb has multiple layers of cocoons protected by thin layers of propolis. The cocoons soak up any wax, making it virtually impossible to render it. Heating this generates slumgum, a smelly amalgam best disposed of as a bio-hazard, since it is potentially infectious.
 

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I've been doing some in pans set up in my oven like a solar melter (because I haven't gotten around to building a solar melter yet). I heat it to about 180 but have read somewhere to do it at 150°F. My oven can go that low but the process takes a lot longer. When the wax has melted out I pour it into a little crock pot that has filtered water in it, remelt it in there and stir it with a wood skewer to help any remaining cocoon bits to fall out of the wax suspension (be carefully the wax isn't too hot, stirring it when it is too hot can cause it to boil up and spit hot wax at you). Turn it off and let it cool then take the wax disk out (best when it is still a bit warm) and trim the bottom of the disk until you get to clean wax. Put the trimmings back in the solar (or oven in my case) melter. When I did it this past weekend I just kept adding comb and bits to the melter and then occasionally pouring off the wax drippings into the little crock pot. I ended up with maybe a candle's worth of wax from the couple brood combs then I took what was left on the melter pan (cocoons) and threw them in my compost bin covered with dirt so the bees would leave them alone. Hopefully it isn't a problem to compost them, I just figured they were natural and would break down over time.
 

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JW, what would be infectious in slumgum? It seems like once you brought it up to a boil it would kill most things.

If it is brood comb use it in swarm traps, it isn't worth messing with for wax unless you have a bunch of it and lots of free time. It smells really bad. Really, really bad.
 

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I don't render mine this way, but from what I understand, you don't actually bring it to a boil, so it never gets hot enough to kill all potential infectious agents. I just use a large styrofoam ice cooler lined with black-painted aluminum foil with a piece of glass over the top. The comb sits on a stand of hardware cloth above an old casserole dish full of water. I can leave it to render all day and collect it in the evening. I don't need to watch it, so it's worth rendering brood comb even though I don't end up with much. It all adds up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't render mine this way, but from what I understand, you don't actually bring it to a boil, so it never gets hot enough to kill all potential infectious agents. I just use a large styrofoam ice cooler lined with black-painted aluminum foil with a piece of glass over the top. The comb sits on a stand of hardware cloth above an old casserole dish full of water. I can leave it to render all day and collect it in the evening. I don't need to watch it, so it's worth rendering brood comb even though I don't end up with much. It all adds up.
Now we are talking my talk cheap,efficient and frees up my time! Thank you I am gonna try it!
 

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When I hear rendering I was thinking about processing it in water to separate the propolis and gunk from the wax. In a solar melter it has to get to at least 140 degrees to melt the wax, and it probably stays that hot for several hours when processing the comb.
 

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It gets plenty hot, believe me. I bought the cooler from a tropical fish store for $2. They end up with a lot of them there and are more than happy to sell cheap to get rid of them. I bought three because they are great to store extra combs in, too. I place bricks under the melter to tilt it at the best angle, and place a brick inside as well to level the dish with water. I also place bricks on the glass to press it firmly down and to keep stray gusts of wind from flipping it off. Again, make sure to line the inside with aluminum because the styrofoam will degrade under the direct heat of the sun otherwise.
 
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