doodlemaier: (Default)
[personal profile] doodlemaier posting in [community profile] bee_folk
The beauty of the pseudo-skep is that harvests produce beeswax as well as honey. Although the honey crop tends to be significantly less than those from conventional hives (which are designed to maximize the honey harvest to the detriment of all other hive products, including the colony of bees themselves) it does produce significantly more wax. Here, I have separated the honey supers from those beneath it, generally the brood nest area, in pairs. Although they tend to be much simpler to process individually, I wanted to examine the contents of this hive as completely intact as possible. I separated the combs from the inside perimeter of both supers and was then able to pull each box free from the combs still connected to teach other by spales.

There's probably three or four pounds of raw comb, all of it empty of brood, honey and pollen as I suspect the colony from this hive absconded and then robbed out their own stores after securing another nest site.

My solar wax melter is an extremely simple and makeshift affair fashioned from a re-purposed window, a black plastic recycling bin and an oversized sheet of ΒΌ" hardware cloth that serves as a false bottom of sorts. As the wax melts it strains through the hardware cloth and collects in a clean aluminum cake pan on the floor of the bin leaving behind a dark, crispy chunk of pollen, dead bees, webbing larvae, and assorted hive junk. This is a prototype that I threw together in fifteen minutes to satisfy my curiosity as to whether it's effective enough design to actually commit some real time and effort to building. This weekend I hope to re-engineer the basic design to come up with a wax melter that will also serve as a solar food dehydrator. Is designing equipment that's not a "uni-tasker" asking too much?

On a warm sunny day it only takes a few minutes before the beautiful buttery clean wax begins seeping out of the pile of dirty, nasty, smelly brood comb. Interestingly, the strong musty odor and color of brood comb render to a clear clean wax with a beautiful deep lemon yellow hue and a scent that more resembles the sweet/musky teakwood-butter-citrus breath of a functional bee colony in full production. For as much as I prize the local honey that my bees provide I've really come to appreciate the pseudo-skep's capacity for producing beeswax and , although "honey grabbers" are likely to disagree I consider it an advantage over conventional hives.

Date: 2012-08-25 07:09 pm (UTC)
ngakmafaery: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ngakmafaery
...I'm glad to see the community got recaptured from the small crimespree that was going on over here...yay!


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