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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 18th year of beekeeping in April 2023. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Building a solar wax melter

After harvesting all of my honey, I have a lot of wax. There are three gallon zip-loc bags in my freezer full of wax that has been washed but not melted. To use the wax, it needs to be melted into a solid, rather than the fragments I have now.

To start this process, I explored the Internet and found this pattern for a solar wax melter (2011 note: this link appears broken and I can not find the web page any longer).  Instead I'll post a screen shot from the GSU professor's website where I first saw it at the end of this post.

 I thought that a styrofoam box like fishermen use would be a perfect insulated box for melting my wax. I went to Home Depot and to Lowe's and neither carried a styrofoam box. Finally I found one at my neighborhood Ace Hardware - and it was on sale for $3.00.

Next I needed glass to fit the top. Although Home Depot no longer cuts glass, they carry precut window replacements, so I bought a piece of glass 12 X 16 inches - to fit the top of my styrofoam box. Cost: $3.50. I also bought a can of spray black paint, reasoning that it would be better for the box to be black to absorb the sun's heat rather than white to reflect it. Cost: $1.79

I already owned a tall Tupperware plastic container and some good paper towels as well as string to tie the paper towel to the Tupperware.

If I'm lucky and this works, I now have a solar wax melter for the cost of a little over $8.00. Since purchasing them is at least 4 times that, I feel lucky.

I put about 2 inches of water in the Tupperware container and fitted the paper towel over it, tying the string to hold it in place. I used duct tape to protect myself from the edges of the glass (and it makes a pretty good handle for lifting the glass.)

I took one gallon bag of the wax out of the freezer and opened it. I spread it on a cookie sheet, lined with paper towels to absorb any water that collects as it thaws. Tomorrow morning I'll put some of the wax pieces in my solar wax melter and leave it for the day while I go to work. I'll report back to let you know if this works. Posted by Picasa


  1. Anonymous9:57 PM

    Hey there,
    Love your bee blog. What an amazing adventure it all is ... with yellow jackets robbing the hives, mites, and ghost bees.


  2. Linda -

    I built a similar one, but instead painted the inside black. The heat won't transfer from the outside in through the walls.


  3. Anonymous1:57 PM

    How do you go about washing wax? I love your Blog BTW..... Thanks!

  4. We just tried your technique for melting and straining wax, using almost exactly the same tools that you used.

    Our wax melted in less than an hour. (One of the two rubber bands that we used to hold the paper towels exploded, but nevermind that!)

    By the way, my bees continue to be queen cup building maniacs. I've got loads of photos of their constructions over at my blog.

  5. Maybe I should have said to use high quality rubber bands! I buy mine at an office supply store.

  6. I think ours came off of some broccoli. Rubber bands definitely have a shelf life, and do get brittle as they age.


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