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Wax Extractors

Beeswax is a valuable commodity

A full honey producing colony of bees should yield about 1-1½ lb of beeswax per year, from cappings and brace, damaged and brood comb. Cappings are much cleaner and will produce the lightest wax, that can be used for items such as candles, cosmetics and food wraps. Comb that has had brood in will produce much darker wax, that can be sent to appliance traders to be used for making foundation. They have tehniques for lightening very dark wax, so don't think your wax isn't worth anything, it is. We need to keep wax recycled if we can.

Cappings wax is almost 100% beeswax, with maybe some pollen, propolis and other bits and pieces that are introduced during honey extracting. It will need little filtering, so is the easiest and most productive. The best show wax comes from cappings, the best show people will carefully sort it out before heating. Wax from old brood combs is much more difficult to extract, because of all the cocoons and pollen that soak up the molten wax.

There are three main ways of extracting wax, by steam, direct heat and solar. Solar wax extractors can be purchased or quite easily made from scrap items and are free to run. There have been many designs of steam wax extractor that are available from appliance dealers. Some take combs inside the container, others extract the wax by placing frames of comb inside supers or brood boxes, then steamed from the top with steam generated by a wallpaper stripper. There are several ways of using direct heat, but it needs to be done in some sort of waterbath to avoid the wax catching fire. One such implement is the "MG" wax extractor that looks a bit like a watering can

Roger Patterson.

Page created 24/11/2018