When deciding what to do with the bees wax I spent time on the internet trying to see what would work for me. My wife and I went to the store and bought a stainless steel stock pot. Added water and started cooking. The first wax we rendered, was from some ooold boxes we had been given by a retired beekeeper. The honey comb was near black as coal. In order to get it cleaned up we melted it, let it cool 5 or so times. Each time we scraped the bottom to eliminate the propolis and dirt, we ended up with this. Well not exactly this, because after I built a solar wax melter I ran it through a paper towel as a filter then a coffee filter. And it still looks like this, about ½ as dark as the original.
We thought it was so dark because it was so black to start with. Our bad.
The next method we found on you tube, was to steam the wax off the frames. It did better, but still not what we wanted. This was also subsequently run through the solar melter.
That proved to be a bit better but not much. This is what prompted me to built the solar wax melter. I started with a window that I had in the basement. A left over from when we built our home. The plans were found on the internet, but modified to make them more simple, and to work around the existing window. If I were to do it again, there are a few things I would change.
This is from capping wax with no filtering.
And from the dirtiest wax that I removed from the hives, mostly Drone comb, full of old dead larva and pupa I got this. Again there was no filter used on this batch.
Finally during the summer, I had forgot to remove an old frame from a swarm trap, it ended up to be a wax moth playground. The rendered wax still looked fairly nice. Even from this old black mess.
This frame was similar to the frames I got from the retired beekeeper. But the end product is a lot nicer. When filtered through a paper towel in the wax melter it came out even better. See top of next photo.
When all the wax is stacked together, you can see the contrast easier.
I am thinking now, that anything that agitates the melted wax mixes the contaminants into the wax. Once mixed in is extremely hard to eliminate.
I am trying something new, I have put a piece of polyester fabric in my wax melter. this will eliminate the waste of soaking up a paper towel with wax every time I want to filter wax. The fabric has a fine mesh, and when it gets dirty, I can remove it and put it in the freezer, to clean off the slumgum .
Text and photos by Boyd Young ©