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What do I do with crushed honeycomb?

 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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This is my first year rendering honey. <Applause> My marvellous liquid gold has a completely different flavour that what I have ever experienced from the supermarket--it has overtones of "peach" within it that I wasn't expecting. <Ooh, aah! Cheers for backyard beekeepers!> I think I'll call this "orchard honey," 'cause it's definitely not "clover honey" despite the amount of white clover that we have in our yard.

My problem is, what do I now do with the comb that I crushed in order to release the honey? Should I spread it out in front of the hive for the bees to clean up? Bury it? Feed it to my worms? My chickens?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks,

Dan
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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It makes a really wonderful furniture polish, melted and mixed with linseed oil and a little essential oil if you like. Start with a 1:4 ratio of beeswax to linseed oil (you can use flax oil if you don't want the additives they put in the paint kind), and see if it sets up rock-hard or spreadable - keep melting it and stirring in more linseed oil until you can work with it. I'd do a double-boiler thing and melt it in a jar that I'd keep it in. The linseed oil and any rags you use with this can spontaneously combust in sunlight but it's supposed to be safe once it sits on the wood a bit. I got rave reviews when I used this on my kitchen cabinets.
 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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But ... I'm not talking about nicely refined wax here. The crushed honeycomb that I have is still sticky from all of the honey and still filled with ... other non-dissoluble items from the hive.

Would you suggest that I boil it down like I would wax? What about the value of the sweetness in the honey that never drained it's way through the filter? Any particular means you would suggest for extracting the comb from what's left of the honey?

Dan
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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yeah, make wax! it is useful to make beautiful candles or as an additive to cosmetics (think burt's bees). if you don't want to get involved in that stuff, find someone on craigslist who will buy the wax from you. ask at the farmer's market soap shop, if you have one. it can be used in hand-made soap too.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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We give the crushed comb back to our bees, it reduces the need for them to make more wax for later, which is a lot of work for the bees. Which in tuen gives a higher yield next harvest and stronger bees.
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
Posts: 148
Location: Houston, Tesas
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Jordan Lowery wrote:We give the crushed comb back to our bees, it reduces the need for them to make more wax for later, which is a lot of work for the bees. Which in tuen gives a higher yield next harvest and stronger bees.


Jordon - I'm glad you mentioned this, I was hoping someone would...I think, re-claiming and rendering for beeswax is good for a variety of uses, but giving back is, too. Maybe and equitable split, some for the keeper, some for the worker. How would you suggest 'giving the crushed comb back to the bees'...? I'm sure some people are wondering, if you just leave it raw or would you have to/want to prepare it, in some way...
 
Matt Saager
Posts: 48
Location: Oregon - Willamette Valley
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I have not kept bees with topbar hives... but I plan to start moving that direction.

From my understanding, it's common practice to leave the crushed comb near the hives for some period of time:
- to allow the bees to clean out the residual honey
- for the bees to take some of the wax for rebuilding the hive

As for the remaining wax that you take as your share, certainly it has better uses than burying or composting.
By melting it down and straining it, you have a reasonably valuable product for MANY uses.

Here's a link I found for a solar wax melter... pretty simple, but something I hadn't thought of before.
solar-wax-melter
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 302
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Is there any evidence that bees actually re-use wax from old comb? I'm skeptical. But placing it in the hive for the bees to clean out residual honey is definitely a good idea.
 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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We are talking crushed comb here. It's not on frames (it never was). It's no longer connected to top bars. It has been crushed. I can put it in front of the beehive. I can melt it down. The one thing I cannot do is to put it back in the hive readilyl.

At the same time, I too would be curious to know if the bees would use the wax.

Dan
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 302
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Yes, I was talking about putting the crushed comb in an empty section of the hive for bees to clean it.
I've heard that feeding crushed comb in the open can easily trigger robbing behavior.
 
Clifford Reinke
Posts: 124
Location: Puget Sound
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Robbing behavior can occur unless you set it out a long ways off (50 plus feet). Don't worry the bees will find it. We put the crushed comb out for the bees to clean up, but I don't notice them actually using the wax. Spread the stuff out on a tray, let them eat the honey, keep the wax.
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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putting the crushed comb in a top feeder works well if you've got a vertical hive. that prevents the robbing issue.

you could also rinse the residual honey out with hot water and use the result for mead.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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