I've been replacing some very old and damaged foundation recently. It seems I'm gonna end up with a bunch of very dark and otherwise discolored wax.
Anyone got a good use for this stuff? I cant see just throwing it away.
Once I tried melting old black brood combs in a talk of water to recover the wax. All I got was a lot off junk - mostly cocoons and other debris. Any wax recovered was minimal. After that I started cutting the combs out of the frames and leaving them in the sun for a little while. Then I pulled out the wires and threw the combs into the compost pile.
I've heard of people using old wax and propolis to create fire starters.
We have sweetgum trees where I live and they drop round woody balls with sharp points all around. We call them gumballs and they are a true nuisance because it's a real pain of you step on them.
So I read that someone coated those gumballs with old wax and propolis, then used them to start fires in the fireplace. Apparently is was very effective. If you don't have sweetgum tree's then I suppose any flammable organic material would do.
I've had pretty good luck tossing them comb into a solar wax melter. If I render it in the barn during the winter, I break up the old comb into smaller pieces and put those in a paint strainer bag. That goes into boiling water and after it all melts, I squeeze the bag until most of the moisture is out. The wax goes to the top of the water and after it cools I can remove the block. It needs to be melted / filtered again but most of the junk comes out pretty easily.
I just gave back two, almost black, frames to my main hive that I had pulled earlier this year. They were really congested and needed the room. I had left the frames in the sun for several days. I checked on that hive yesterday, and the girls are replacing the old comb with new. They're about half way finished. Just another option for you.
I have had not had any luck with those kind of frames and boiling water. In my solar melter I get a surprising amount of clean wax, although it is darker so I melt those frames separately from burr wax and capping wax.
These were brood frames, but not the really black ones that I have done. I don't think that I have any pictures of them in the melter. I do have a block of the dark wax here that I might take a picture of and post later.
Usually placed into my solar wax melters. The resulting mass of cocoons with a little bit of wax is called "slumgum" and is quite useful when allowed to melt and slowly burn on top of rolled up cardboard in your smoker to quiet vicious hives. In my experience it completely demoralizes such a hive for up to two days. You might try it when you want to requeen such a hive. OMTCW
From what I've read, old dark comb and wax tends to accumulate toxic stuff like pesticides, herbicides, treatment residues, and various other undesirable chemicals. Isn't that one of the reasons we're supposed to cycle it out after a few years?
Assuming this is true, personally I would be a little leery of using it in my compost pile for my vegetable garden, or burning it in a smoker or as candles and having either myself or the bees breathe the fumes. Just my own 2 cents.
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