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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone try a do-it-yourself solar wax melter? I saw it on youtube and rigged one up with an old cooler, a window pane, and a pan with cheesecloth tied over the top. I put comb on there, and the light wax melts fine, but the dark (brood comb) wax isn't melting. Should I give up on that wax?
 

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Old brood comb has very little wax in it. I typically do put it in the melter and then toss it in a bucket with the rest of the slum gum.
 

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Rwurster has it correct. There is so little wax, and so much embedded cocoon, in brood comb that trying to melt it is usually a net-loss. The cocoon soaks up wax that is added from cappings and honeycomb. You might be able to melt it in a stewpot/crockpot and skim a little film of wax off, but its hardly worth the effort. Keep it separated from the cappings (which render into gorgeous lemon yellow, instead of muddy mustard brown like the brood).
 

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My melter does a pretty good job of melting down brood comb, but yeah, there isn't that much wax in it, and what you do get isn't really good wax. My brood comb is usually crushed down into chips and flakes by the time it gets to the melter, which might help it melt. It also needs to get hot enough for the wax to flow, so you may want to set an old cooking thermometer on the wax pile to see just how hot you're getting.

Your uses for the brood comb wax may be limited, mine tends to come out somewhat dark and it doesn't smell all that great.
 

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You need a steam operated wax press to get much wax out of old brood comb. Lacking that, some boiling water and nylon bag will allow you to press out much more wax that you will get from a solar melter from brood comb. Heat to boiling and press the bag full of hot brood comb as well as you can with a spoon or paddle of some sort several times, allowing it to refill with boiling water between presses. The wax will float, and you can just let it cool in the water to harden, then remelt after scraping the slumgum off the bottom.

You won't get a whole lot of wax though.

Peter
 

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I have been turning over a lot of old brood comb. The easiest way I have found is a Old wash tub and a turkey fryer. Put comb in and a bunch of water heat till melted. And let cool. Scrape the bottom junk off. And do all over. I add more old brood comb and remelt till I get a nice block of wax. Then to a filtering melter.
David
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aha. Well, that sounds like a lot of effort for a little wax. I didn't realize the brood comb wouldn't produce much wax, but it makes sense because when I crumble it, it's almost like paper.

So what to use it for. We use a woodstove in the winter. I'm wondering whether dark brood comb cut into chunks would make a good fire starter. Anyone know about that?
 

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I use the solar melter for brood comb and, as mentioned, it doesn't give up a lot of wax. Some, yes...but not a lot. After I get what I can I scrape it into an old pail and then in the winter when I'm looking for "bee" work to do, I'll put it all in a cotton bag or tied up t-shirt and drop it in boiling water. A few beers later I turn off the heat, squeeze the bag out and leave it alone. The next morning I lift the wax off the top and scrape the bottom of the little junk that's on there (as mentioned above). For me, that's work enough and although it makes me feel good that I salvage a bit more wax I do have to wonder if the effort is worth the results. Anyway, that's my .02!
 

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Similar to Ravenseye, i find the solar melter will melt the wax in brood comb, but the dang caccoons soak it up. so when I'm bored in winter, i tie it up in cheesecloth and let it boil in a crock bot until soft, then squeeze the wax out. theres a fair bit of wax there, but the hassle of doing this (for some pretty discollored wax) seems high relative the the amount recovered.
 

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Aha. Well, that sounds like a lot of effort for a little wax. I didn't realize the brood comb wouldn't produce much wax, but it makes sense because when I crumble it, it's almost like paper.

So what to use it for. We use a woodstove in the winter. I'm wondering whether dark brood comb cut into chunks would make a good fire starter. Anyone know about that?
i have never started a woodstove with brood comb but i have started fires in the yard and it worked great.
 

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Same thing here....I've been trying to get a bunch to melt on some nice hot days here with no luck. Anyone ever try it in a smoker, either by itself or with some other fuel??
 

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Ill honestly say it burns well after its dried (I tried boiling it too :) ) I have used it to start fires but I mostly use it to bait hives in the spring. Using a small amount to get your smoker going would probably work well, but using it as fuel I would have to pass on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Aha. Well, one day in the solar melter for brood comb then, and what's left I may just save for chunks for woodstove firestarters. Someone once told me that one use for beeswax was to melt it and pour it over pine shavings in an egg carton. Then you cut the individual cells out of the egg carton and throw one in the woodstove as a firestarter in winter. I don't see why brood comb wouldn't work for that too.

The other wonder is whether the chickens will eat it. I don't know how healthy that would be, but they did devour a frame of drone brood recently, wax and all.
 
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