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I've been keeping this blog for nine years and now there are over 1200 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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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Difference in Beeswax and Honeycomb

In this, my fourth year of beekeeping, I am finding out that I have old beeswax that needs to be melted down. I've done it three times on hot days here in Atlanta and am disappointed every time. What I am melting is old brood comb. Last year I lost about three hives during the bee season - queen failure, absconding, etc.

This beeswax has been cut out of frames from those hives that didn't succeed last year to put into growing hives this year. When bee babies emerge from the brood comb, they have been encased in a cocoon that they leave behind in the cell when they emerge. Over time these casings accumulate debris in the cell, although workers do clean out the cells regularly.

Putting brood comb in the solar wax melter is a very different experience from putting honeycomb in the solar wax melter.

Here's what smashed together, blackened with cell casings and bee footprints brood comb wax looks like as it is placed in the solar wax melter:



At the end of the day, wax has filtered through the paper towel, but a large amount of slumgum stays on top of the paper towel. Little wax is the result.



I do end up with a nicely wax-impregnated paper towel to use as a smoker starter, though.



For comparison's sake, look at this slideshow from the solar wax melter with honey comb from the harvest in it.
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1 comment:

  1. You're not kidding on there being little wax in old broodcomb. I boiled up several huge batches of the stuff (pictures here) and got just a paltry amount of wax from it. (And let me tell you, slumgum boiling on the stove starts smelling pretty gross after a while.) But it was what I had and I needed wax, so.

    I'm enjoying your blog! Lots of handy info here.

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