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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't have all the bees that i went after, but i got the wax combs. i have been putting it into 5-gal. plastic buckets, with mothballs. I have 3- full buckets so far. the combs have larva, very few wax worms, dead bees, pine needles etc., etc. what do i do to even start the wax melting. Is it even worth messing with on such a small scale? I do plan on continueing this expensive hobby.

Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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The thing that costs you the most wax is cocoons. I sort my wax scraps into wax with cocoons or really dark wax, and new wax without cocoons and cappings. That way I don't waste a lot of clean wax when trying to get the cocoons out. My guess is without a wax press (and I don't have one) that half the wax gets wasted with the old combs. But they are worth melting down. They aren't worth shipping out to have them rendered (at least not at current prices and shipping) unless you have a local place that renderes them.

I melt them and strain them through cheese cloth. The first time through I'll twist the cheese cloth up to try to get the wax out of the cocoons. After that is hard and the worst of the dirt scraped off the bottom, I melt it and strain it again and I don't try to force it through the cheese cloth this time. If you do you'll get too much dirt. I just let it run through this time. Paper milk cartons make good molds. The wax ends up a bit taller then it is wide which makes scraping the dirt off less wasteful. And the wax is in a nice sized chunk.

Always melt it in a solar wax melter, a double boiler or a crock pot. NEVER heat it on the stove directly or you'll burn down the house. Obviously wax is VERY flammable. You can also melt it in a pot with water in with the wax, just make sure you don't boil it dry (as in all the water is gone but the wax is not). I usually do have some water in with the wax even if it's in a double boiler. It keeps it from sticking on the bottom when I let it harden and it helps get out the dirt.
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