by Derek Driver (SE Herts)
The article by Roy Cropley on solar wax extractors was not only excellent but also timely. I have always recommended to new beekeepers to make this essential piece of equipment and winter is the ideal time. They are so simple to construct, anyone can do it, and to encourage any new beekeeper I have two aluminium double glazed windows they can have for free! Other costs can be kept down by using second hand wood, etc.
With three ladies in my home I found the ideal filter is to use old stockings or tights, its best with cappings, you fill the tights until they look like legs and most extractors take four legs. First any honey runs out and then the wax, golden yellow in colour. The honey & wax will separate with the wax on top and when it’s all cooled down only the dross is left in the stockings. The blocks are so clean & good in colour you could even use it for shows. Depending on the sun you can produce a pound or two of rendered wax per day, for only the one off cost of construction.
If you’re renewing a third of all you comb per year, which is the least all beekeepers should be doing, then you cannot be without a solar wax extractor!!! Sometimes when I’m going through other people’s hives I silently cringe over the amount of black comb I see. Remember, you cut down a lot of potential health problems with new comb and what a joy it is to pick up a newly drawn frame full of wall to wall capped brood.
So don't wait until summer when your working like mad with your bees, MAKE IT NOW!