anyone used a Easi-steam product?

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Drone Bee
May 12, 2009
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anyone used these Easi-steam products? there are a range that Thornes and other sell but I am not sure if its one of those things you buy as a great idea and then never gets used again, anyone experience of it?

does it work? does it kill all the nasties? does it clean frames and boxes?


Not at that price!!
I use a modified wallpaper steamer from screwfix for £30:

with a cobbled together roof-with-a-hole-in-it etc etc. Gets wax out a treat, but don't forget that a simple unpressurised steam treatment will only achieve 100deg C at best ... so great for pasteurisation, insect larvae and egg killing etc, and the majority of bacteria but will have little or no effect on bacterial spores [incl EFB/AFB] and probably no effect on any virus.
It is said that you are best using distilled [rather than tap, or roof-run-off] water when wax handling as the other stuff in water [other than the H2O, that is] can spoil perfect wax, such as used for cosmetics or pharmaceuticals. But if you are just after sendingit off for wax exchange, or using it "domestically" , it should not be a problem.
thanks Gaz, do the frames come out clean?

also, at £75 its not a bank breaker, given the roof and tray you get including the stream generator..
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I went for the same approach as Gaz - a wallpaper steamer (from ebay for less than a tenner), a piece of plywood with a hole in the middle, an old brood box, and the whole lot sitting over an old queen excluder to catch the crud. The oldest and darkest frames, in particular those covered in propolis, don't clean up to well and aren't worth the electricity used for the quantity of wax returned. You usually still have to scrape off some of the molten wax.
Buy a carpet steamer or one of those little pressure steamers from Halfords or as Gaz Fella says. If equivalent electrical input they will be just as good and could be used for something else like cleaning carpets or......whatever you might want a pressure steam cleaner for, or for removing wallpaper. Maybe if you have a kettle you can put a hose onto.....the spout

A summer alternative is an insulated box with a double glazed window unit using free energy.

To melt down frame wax I use an old Burco water heater - cost a couple of quid at a sale and needed a new lead fitting..... I can use it with washing soda to clean frame parts nicely. I can dump it when it goes wrong and find another for a couple of pound coins... OK, the next one might be a fiver.

Thornes have some good kit but often expensive compared with a little improvisation. I would only use it on economy 7 though. Wax is not all that valuable to be melting it on peak rate electric - solar is better but you need the space.

Cleaning what's wrong with a good old scraper and scorch with the blow torch? As they say propolis is still there.

If you need to do 48 hives each year it is going to be a little more time consuming at 20 minutes each box or couple of supers, I reckon. That is probably not including start-up time either. You can at least take the blow torch to the field and not need 48 spare hive boxes!

I also fail to see how it attains 105 degrees - water boils at 100 unless pressure is increased.

I would probably use my steam wax melter/extactor, which also gets used rarely, as the steam generator. I would not want a steel lid - there must be something with better insulation than that, but then I am a cheap-skate when it comes to using prime rate high grade energy. Carbon footprint and all that.

Try it and see, it's only about what some school children spend on their mobile phones each month... Report back your honest findings.

Regards, RAB
does it work? does it kill all the nasties? does it clean frames and boxes?

I must declare professional interest on this one, one aspect of my professional life is applied microbiology within the food industry.

Whether this treatment works at a level that provides commercial sterility post treatment is questionable but not outside the realms of possibility. Wet heat will always provide a better kill than dry heat at any temperature, that goes in the methods favour. The degree of energy carried forward in a steam is dependent on the level of superheat (degrees above 100 in plain terms). 105 does not feel that special - you can get 102/103 out of a kettle. Exposure time is just as significant as the temperature itself and the temperature we are talking about is the temperature of the treated surfaces not that of the supplied steam (a recognised kill combination for spores is 90'C for 10 mins - actual not simply delivered). A factor going against this method is propolis. Any remaining organic matter will provide a protective shield to vegetative or spore cells beneath it. Since the method does not claim to remove propolis you have the potential for pockets of residual infection. Fibrous materials such as wood are also renowned for internalised bug contamination and since wood itself is a good insulator that may also go against the treatment. As a method to clean frames and boxes it sounds good. As a one stop shop for microbial contamination elimination I would want a higher burden of proof before I relied on it as the sole method of protecting my little lovelies. Hope that helps, Rosti. :(
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aren't worth the electricity used for the quantity of wax returned. .

I no longer bother collecting wax, it is just not cost effective on a small scale. Electricty used far out ways results obtained.

A summer alternative is a

HA, Summer! :svengo:

I built an all singing and dancing double glazed system...I have used it once!

Its now in the skip.
I must agree with Rosti. While I think it is worth recycling the cleaner wax from old frames, which makes good hand cream according to my wife. The rest, used frames and old brown wax goes on the range, in moderate quantities it makes for very easy fire lighting material :)

You may think this a wasteful approach, but new frames and clean foundation are not too expensive. OK the bees have to use some energy making new comb, but it does not seem to take them that long and they have a clean frames each time. I have also to date used a gas blow torch on the used boxes, floor and crown board to ensure that 99%+ of the viruses and bacteria are killed.
Rosti said: "Fibrous materials such as wood are also renowned for internalised bug contamination"
... indeed indeed!!
I read [not too long ago] an Italian paper on spore penetration into wood, and the effectiveness of scorching [as of brood boxes] at killing the spores. The results were most gloomy, with a really good scorching having pretty poor penetration of the wood, made even worse in the presence of any organic material covering - such as propolis. All in all, scorching is better than nothing - but don't kid yourself you are getting any more than a 60% success at removing spores, or viruses.Wood is just SO absorbent/penetrable . Polystyrene hives? Slated by many as you can't scorch them, but they are essentially non-absorbent, and a scrape off of the big bits, a wash with washing soda, and a dunk/spray in Virkon [followed by a good rinsing] "does" for pretty much anything. Decontamination rate probably at 90% without too much effort.

But frames? Steaming doesn't clean to the exclusion of needing to scrape etc. Washing soda opens the pores/grain a bit much and can affect the frame structure anyway.

I've not tried Lye - sodium hydroxide - [Finman uses this, I believe] and it is really nasty corrosive stuff, but if you have the means, courage, and environmental facilities to dispose of the residue, to use it, it is very effective.

For frames ... maybe steam de-wax, clean etc once, then better to change to new ones.
Last year, the frames (a good pile of mixed frame parts) got a good going through. They had already been melted-out for wax so were treated to a washing soda bath and then submerged in hypochlorite (bleach) in a covered vat for a couple of days or more.

I reckon most of everything was sorted but they all came from my pile so only had my diseases on them. I would not risk processing materials of doubtful origin.

Sodium hydroxide is only a lot more alkaline than washing soda. It is cheap, very effective and will soon be washing soda if allowed to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Basically like oven cleaner - is oven cleaner - so will cause chemical burns if not used correctly/safely.

Chemicals don't really present a worry to me as I have been using all sorts - from radioactive ones, to strong acids and alkalis (by the 50l drum) during my previous working life.

If you have not experienced with chemicals, and/or are not at ease, keep away from these very aggressive ones. Saying that - 80% acetic acid (now named ethanoic acid) for drawn frame sterilisation is to be used very carefully, oxalic acid is more than just a little toxic! Then there is 70% formic acid and lactic acid, the list goes on and includes thymol. Beekeepers can be real chemists if they choose to use the whole range of chemicals.

Back to thread - doing small lots is not very cost effective, but everyone to his own choice. The Danes recycle their frames but it is done on a commercial basis and must obviously be cheaper than replacement. The big players in the US have their items irradiated to sterilise them.

Regards, RAB
I'm with RAB. To play with chemicals, any chemicals you must know the rules and there is no slack while you are learning. RAB, my favourite is not on your list. Per-oxy-acetic acid, lower residuals and less structural impact. Thoughts? R
I use a Thomas frame steamer which will sort out 26 National shallow frames in about 30 min. It is faster to slide foundation into assembled frames (even if it has to be trimmed) which have been steamed than make up new frames with foundation and it is cheaper to steam frames than buy them.