Monday, April 19, 2010

Wax Melting Research

As a side product of all of these bee extractions, we have quite a bit of excess comb in our posession. Below is my research for what to do with all of this excess comb. These are my notes taken from a variety of sites on the web, my favorites are noted in the resources at the bottom of the page.

-segregate wax for color. Pure white comb with no propolis is most desirable.

-dark wax will not hurt the bees but it is not as desirable for purchase due to personal preferences.
Dark comb

Medium comb

Light comb
Really light comb (on top of really dark comb)

I also have some that was pure white, never used. I don't have a photo, apparently, this is very desireable for wax. When the bees first make the wax, it is a pure white almost opaque color. As they walk across the surface of the comb, their feet dirty it with propolis causing it to darken in color. I also read that brood comb is lined with a substance that causes darkening of the wax, as it is used over and over it continues to darken. This is definitely true for the comb we have seen, brood combe is much darker in color.

--old black comb melts poorly with very little resulting wax (still gonna try it!)
--store wax in the freezer to prevent wax moths (space issue?)

--wash wax to remove honey--do not dump rinse water in sink!
-Beeswax melts at 145°F
--Beeswax is pliable at 100°F
-Beeswax is highly flammable.
-Comb can be put in a burlap bag and boiled, melted wax escapes and floats to the top of the water, then solidifies after cooling. This method produces wax with inclusions and not usually of a pretty color. Probably good for huge quantities.
-First melting. Put a paper towel over a bowl of water and rubber band it into place. Put balls of wax on top of the paper towels and allow to melt. The wax will filter through the paper towels and drip into the bowl below. A black slum will remain on the paper towel.

- Silk is best for final filtering of clean melted wax

Wax block for competition
-8x8 inch brownie pan, 2-3 lbs of wax, no more than 2 inches thick
-place the container of melted wax in a bowl of warm water to allow for slow cooling and prevent cracking
-vibration or air current could cause waves in surface of drying wax


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