How to process wax bits

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steve_e 

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Hi -
Here's another in an apparently endless series of daft questions:
I have some wax odds and ends which were mainly scraped off the surface of the honey buckets a few days after it was extracted (no filter used during extraction). I've attached a photo to give you an idea - it's all sticky with mixed in honey and has also some more solid wax from the cappings which were heated in a friends wax extractor.

I also have a bag of wax comb bits that I just collected through the season during inspections when the bees had been making wild comb where they didn't ought to have...

What is the best way to sort out this wax? Should I wash it all through to get rid of as much honey as possible, then heat it? Or heat it first, let it cool and then separate the two? Should I mix the old wax wild comb bits in with the other stuff, which is from cappings? (I've noticed just now that this is now playing host to a fair few moths).

If heating it (I don't have any dedicated heaters) what kind of temperature is best - would the warming oven of an aga be a good thing or not?

Sorry, lots of questions in one really, as always seems to happen when I start thinking about bees!
 

Silly Bee 

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I gave all my wax bits back to the bees, they are very good at recovering the honey, and utilising the wax.
 

Silly Bee 

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or


You could put it in a jam bag filter, and suck out the honey for yourself :)
 

tonybloke 

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wash well in rain-water, then melt in a double pan (bain-marie) filter through a piece of muslin or lint (or a pair of tights)
 

newportbuzz 

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i melt my wax on top of boiling water in a stainless steel pot. it floats and the bits sink. i usually do this 3 times and remove all the bits each time. end up with a fairly clean block of wax.
Ive also been told another way. get a stocking put wax in aswell as a clean rock. put this in a stainless pot of boiling water that covers the stocking. the wax melts and filters through the stocking and no bits end up in your wax block.
the honey doesnt harm either proces but is wasted in both. mabey soak them first and make some mead.
use stainless tho otherwise the wax sticks like hell in the night
 

Arfermo 

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You could put it in a jam bag filter, and suck out the honey for yourself :)
Or you even wash it thgrough and make some mead. I'll post a recipe if you need it but there areother posts for mead on this site anyway.;)
 

steve_e 

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Thanks Arfermo - I'll have a think about that. I've just found an old recipe you posted previously so no need to post another! :)
 

MuswellMetro 

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Brilliant - thanks for all the suggestions!
it has to be rainwater or tap water plus a dash of lemon jiuce, if you just boil it in tap water then as that is slightly alkali in most areas ,then you end up with soap and the wax broken up into small round beads rather than solid wax
 

Polyanwood 

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I followed your lemon juice trick and used rice vinegar when I ran out of lemon... and the result was much better than without the acid when I just heated in London (hard/alkali) tap water. Thanks MM.
 

MuswellMetro 

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I followed your lemon juice trick and used rice vinegar when I ran out of lemon... and the result was much better than without the acid when I just heated in London (hard/alkali) tap water. Thanks MM.

now with the new london water ring main we have the same water as you do, i noticed that although it is a hard water it is softer than it use to be from the old water chalk bore holes on the Lea valley

with the old chalk water it really went soapy
 

Peter Cox 

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I use a soft curd cheese draining bag, normally available from any cheesemaking hobbyist store. Made of nylon so will handle some squeezing to get most of the honey out. Hang and let drip for 24 hours or so then squeeze.
Remove the residual wax and treat with water as per many of the other suggestions. Rinse the nylon draining bag and put in dishwasher to finish cleaning.
 

Gardenbees 

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I give neat pieces of empty comb or brace comb to our local Wildlife Trust Watch group for the kids to look at and make stuff out of!

Odd wax bits get melted, strained through a coffee strainer and used for batik or, sometimes, for sealing bits of frame feeders etc.

Brace comb etc. which still has honey or stuff in it gets given back to the bees - they soon clean it out and seem to make use of the wax, although I'm not sure what they actually do with it....
 

Mike a 

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I went with this option with my wax last year.



Bit of wire mesh over a pirex bowl and one sheet of paper kitchen towel. I ended up with a lovely wax cake which won first prize.



It was spotless when entered but by the time I took the picture several members of the public and fellow association members had handled it.
 
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victor meldrew 

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This wouldn't have won at our honey show :drool5:.

John Wilkinson
 

victor meldrew 

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Leg pulling again ;)
Beautiful wax but BBKA Card So BBKA rules .
Schedule states Block of wax weighing between 200 and 250 Grms displayed on a doily !!!

Sour grapes, I only managed a 'Very Highly Commended ' this afternoon:leaving:

John Wilkinson
 

richardbees 

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Mike A, that's well deserving of 1st!

I've never ever suceeded in getting one with such a glassy finish, probably because I use the 'pair of tights' method - so I just break them into bits and they go in a sweet jar on the counter of a local health food shop. It seems one of the biggest users are for Afro hair use.....
 

Mike a 

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Thank you.

Not sure yet if I will enter the 10-12 oz wax cake this year as a friends dog eat all my honey cappings and I want to try and beat the two guys who between them always win the honey classes. :)
 

victor meldrew 

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I would be interested in this method .
My training into the uses of the micro wave technique led me to believe that friction from agitating water molecules generates the heat !
Not a lot of water in wax .
Never the less using wax and water with the power turned way down I suppose it could be done !

John Wilkinson
 

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