Wednesday, June 25, 2014
It's Solar Wax Melting Time Again
Once the temps stay consistently up into the 80's and I can count on the sun shining most all day it is time to break out the Solar Wax Melter once again. For today they weren't forecasting any clouds or rain until evening at the earliest with a high of 87 degrees. A perfect day to render up some of this burr comb and squeezed out capping I have from working the bees and harvesting honey.
Excess bees wax is pure gold let me tell you.
Some people would have you wash your wax off and then spread it out to dry. I used to do it this way because it will keep you from getting any excess honey melted into your wax. Then I got to thinking for what I use 90% of my melted and filtered wax for it's really just a useless step. These days I mostly just chuck the honey coated wax into the melter although I will do a washed amount every year for the smaller stuff.
Most all of the wax I use goes to coating the new frames or foundation I put into new hives. If you brush on a nice layer of honey infused melted wax onto those frames the girls will start building on it much faster than if you only use the light coating it comes with. Occasionally I will pour a beeswax candle or two and I don't mind some honey mixed into those either as it adds to the aroma I am looking for anyway. I also use my melted wax as a flux when casting bullets and occasionally as a bullet lube ingredient as well.
You can see my entire inner working in this picture. The pie pan catches any wax that might drip around the crock and melt the foam lining in the box. The little crock is filled with about an inch or so of water to allow the wax to harden on as it floats. I use a simple strainer with the handle cut off and then line it with a paper towel and fill the thing with bits of burr comb and honey frame cappings. Put the lid on it and let the sun do it's work. Between the paper towel and the strainer most all the junk is filtered out leaving me almost 100% pure bees wax. On a really hot day I can get two or three loads done if I am around to watch it but usually I fill up one strainer worth and let it go all day moving it into the shade in the afternoon to cool off slowly and harden.
Once the disk of wax hardens you can push on it with your finger to dislodge it and remove the whole thing from the crock of water. One reason I use a straight sided crock.
I then put the wax disks into plastic baggies and store it for use all year long.
This year so far I have about two full 5 gallon buckets of comb and cappings to melt down mostly due to the cut out I did back in March.
No sustainable Beekeeper should be without a solar wax melter. In a grid down situation excess bees wax melted and filtered will be worth more than gold I imagine. You can do so much with it.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!