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Beeswax (burr comb) mouldy?

Hey guys, been keeping my burr comb or wax from cutouts in a containers, one seals well which doesn’t have a problem, the other container isn’t the best at sealing and here’s what it looks like just 2 weeks later

Should I render without a worry? Or throw this batch away?

Nooooo, don’t throw it away!
It’s all good, just means it has a high water content in it, leave the lids off in the sun to dry it or just render it.
Depending on what you plan to use the wax for I’m sure it will be fine once melted and filtered.
Like you I don’t have a lot of wax out of the hive but I keep it in the beer fridge until I have enough to warrant melting down into a block to store.
It’s when the wax moth get into it when you panic. :astonished:

Yes you should. :blush: Rendering will kill most of the mould. I usually keep wax frozen if it has food or larvae in it. That stops the mould.

Great! Yeah I’ll have to get a fridge/freezer at some point for my bee needs.

I’ll be using this wax to make foundation. What are your thoughts on making your own foundation?

Too difficult. I would sell/barter/exchange rendered wax with a bee supplies outfit. :blush:

It looks like wax moth is already active in that wax. I would put it in an airtight container in the sun on a hot day or freeze it until you get enough to render it down.

Doesn’t look like wax moth to me. But collection of microfungi is quite impressive :slight_smile:

@RaniK I’d be pretty keen to see and know how you plan to make foundation, its something I would love to do with my excess brood wax but haven’t found a simple way to do it.

If I am ready to render it now, should I still freeze it first?

@Rodderick I was going to follow something along these steps. My local bee store supplies a silicone foundation mould for $60

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that’s pretty cool, I might have to wait for retirement before I have that sort of time to make foundation.

Hi Rani I’d say go for it.

Although I buy my foundation ready made, I can see me in the shed away from the madame, for hours, with some Bach in the background making foundation with that silicone mould. I think it is therapeutic.

You can also make starter strips with no equipment at all. Dip a wooden flat stirrer about 2cm wide in molten wax, take it out and re dip it a few times to build up some wax. When it cools you shave it off the wooden stirrer with a knife and you have starter strips of wax.


I am beyond frustrated!
I had 3 nicely drawn comb in the freezer (after failed split), took them out a few days ago, got caught up and didn’t put them in the other hives. Although they were in a vacuum sealed bag I found ants in them. Out of the freezer they were inside my house and now they look like this!

Is this wax moth? Please tell me I can still freeze them again and use them in hives?

It doesn’t look typical for wax moth. They tend to make lines through the comb and leave long stringy bits of silk, chewed wax and poo.

I think you have frames with brood and pollen, which is decomposing. How do the frames smell? If they smell bad to you, the bees won’t like them either, and I would render the wax and bleach the frames. If they smell OK, you could put one frame in a strong hive, and see if the bees will clean it up for you. If they haven’t done so within a week, I would take it out and render it. I wouldn’t put any more than one frame like that into a hive though, you don’t want to overload the bees with a cleanup job of unhealthy stuff.

Just my opinion. :blush:


I can see wax moth poo. Those small dark brown pieces looks like wax moth poo to me, If there is no hive beetle eggs on the frames, I agree that you could put only one frame at a time in a strong hive to let the bees clean them up. I’d be looking for the bees to have cleaned the frame up overnight. Remove a frame from the outside, then move frames across leaving a gap where the highest concentration of bees are. Then place the frame in that gap. The bees will start working on it immediately.

However, after seeing those frames, I would clean them out to render the wax, then start with fresh foundation.


Such a shame, for a new beekeeper. Drawn comb is a hard resource to have on hand.

@Dawn_SD it doesn’t smell at all to me but it does look like a lot of mess for the bees to clean up.

@JeffH sorry mate, not clear on where I should position it in the hive, on the far side or the inside where the biggest concentration of bees are?

Should I clean as much as I can off the frames first before putting the frames in?

Hi Rani, if I was going to do that I’d place it between the biggest concentration of bees. By doing that, the bees will get stuck straight into it & clean it up quicker rather than later. What I would do is remove the frame with the least amount of bees on it, then move frames into that position so as to create a gap where the highest concentration of bees are.

For me that would be in a honey super. Then I’m not risking killing a queen to save a frame of comb.

You could do something similar with the frame if you were to render the wax before fitting fresh foundation. Place it in between the largest concentration of bees. In the time it takes for the bees to clean up that frame, they could have fresh foundation half drawn out. Then you’re not introducing the wax moth into the hive. I’m almost certain that those little dark brown bits are wax moth poo.

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