wax for candles or just beeswax

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p51d
Guard bee
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:01 pm
Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by p51d » Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:12 pm

My bees don't seem to like "dark wax" and as I rotate these out. Will the dark wax melt down to normal colored wax???? I don't want to jsut get rid of it. Also, as it becomes "brittle" - it is still good to melt down.

Unfortuantely I lost all my bees this winter. ( they ate themselves out is my thinking. So I am rebuilding.

Thanks for comments.

Jacobs
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Re: wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by Jacobs » Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:28 pm

You can try and reclaim what small amount of wax there is in old brood comb. A solar wax melter may be the easiest and best way to go to get lighter wax. As it melts out of the comb, you should see yellow wax. You will mostly have old pupa casings and slum gum. I am stubborn and like to get what wax I can out of the old comb. I generally use a stock pot of water and comb and fish out the pupa casings with a large metal strainer. It can make a real mess in the kitchen. Most of the time the small amount I recover from brood comb is light colored.

I have been cycling out some old, nasty frames--some just old brood comb, others were part of my hives at the Arboretum that got flooded last summer. I am putting old comb in a 4 gallon cheap stock pot that I dedicated to wax processing. (Once you use a pot for wax, it isn't good for any kitchen use.) I heated the comb and water in the pot until it could all be stirred and then poured it through a screen into a 5 gallon bucket. This got the pupa casings out from the beginning. The result was a very dark wax with a lot of pollen/propolis at the bottom of the wax cake. I have melted it 2 more times in water and let it cool. Each time I was able to get more propolis out of the wax, but it still has not lightened to the normal yellow. I may try 1 more gentle melting of just the wax (no water with it) in a double boiler type set up and filter it through an old cotton tee shirt into an old metal bread pan. I have my doubts that it will get light enough to be candle/lip balm material, but I think it will be good enough to use to coat plastic foundation.

Probably more than you wanted to read.

p51d
Guard bee
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:01 pm
Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

Re: wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by p51d » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:13 am

Thanks Jacobs,

It sounds like the dark (almost black) comb has little value so I will discard it. The capping and light wax I will melt down. It is a learning process....my first attemp years back had a medium green color... since then, I only have melted down the light wax and cappings.

Many thanks.

p51d
Guard bee
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:01 pm
Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

Re: wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by p51d » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:33 pm

Here is an example of "darK' frames from a dead hive. These would reduce down to dark wax ?????

Somewhere back I saw some questions that indicated every couple of years you should rotate the wax....maybe I heard this at the meetings.

ANyway, I am a terrible beekeeper - 8 hives going into "winter"....one coming out of winter.

Thanks for comments. Maybe I need to take up golf....
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Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by Jacobs » Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:26 pm

It looks like there is some wax to be had on some of those frames. The lighter areas at the edges of some are wax and should "render" out yellow wax. Before this winter I had 2 terrible ones in a row. I went back to basics--mite counts and timely treatments, aggressively cycling out old brood comb, taking honey and then feeding 1:1 during the summer and into fall to try and keep queens laying. That might explain my better results this winter. Or, it could just be luck.

p51d
Guard bee
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:01 pm
Location: Pleasant Garden, NC

Re: wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by p51d » Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:56 am

Thanks Jacobs.I will see about grabbing the light color for a melt. That is what everyone seems to like.

A second melt with the dark I used the plastic frames a couple of times. Are more beekeepers moving that direction as I notice you said you re-coat with the dark wax???

It was just one of those winters. Going back to the basics seems to be what I will need to do.

Such is life for a beekeeper.

thanks for your help as always.

best regards

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: wax for candles or just beeswax

Post by Jacobs » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:40 am

Part of my going back to basics was cycling out old plastic foundation frames. For years, it was all I used. I am using more and more wax foundation as time goes on. Its not so much that it is more "natural" but it is so much easier to take old comb out and replace it with new wax foundation than it is to clean up plastic foundation frames for re-use. If you have found a fairly easy way to get pupa casings out of old plastic foundation, I would love to hear it. I have tried the scrape and soak plastic foundation in a Dawn liquid/bleach mix and pressure wash after soaking method. A more powerful pressure washer might yield better results, but what I have gotten done works. I use my 4 gallon pot to melt a block of wax in and when still melted, but well below boiling, I dip the cleaned plastic frames. This puts a thick (about 1 oz.) wax coating on the medium plastic foundation. If I get caught up and can cycle out about 20 percent/year, I think this will be manageable. Trying to get 3-400 frames cleaned up is a task.

This last batch of wax from really messed up comb is the first that has stayed this dark despite several meltings and removal of propolis from the bottom. I'm not sure I will use it on foundation if I can't get the wax a little cleaner, but that will depend more on mood than upon science.

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